ASPECTS OF EVE by Linda Pastan


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A modest collection of bourgeois poetry, in which Odysseus is a commuter and Penelope is a suburban wife not unhappy to sit and knit, cultivate the home garden, expect her children's classic ingratitude. Pastan is something of a throwback to the pre-Plath days when complacency was only rarely stirred by the ""Mini Blues"" of lagging behind, ""awash in somebody else's wake."" Familiar experiences and perceptions are couched in simple metaphors. The result is perfunctory, guileless, and in a case like ""Go Gentle,"" derivative. Even her formal successes amount to no more than the received ideas they feed on--kinship, modesty and books as unquestioned values in and of themselves. There's one poem here which appeared on placards in 1000 NYC buses during December 1974 on which we gag at every re-reading. Called ""To a Daughter,"" its speaker is Mother-as-Narcissus who leans over the crib ""ready to fall in--to drown for you, if necessary."" No wonder children leave home.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1975
Publisher: Norton