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LONG LIKE A RIVER by Nancy Schoenberger


by Nancy Schoenberger

Pub Date: May 18th, 1998
ISBN: 0-8147-8105-5
Publisher: New York Univ.

paper 0-8147-8104-7 Schoenberger’s second volume, winner of this year’s NYU Press Award for Poetry, derives much of its narrative power and emotional force from her love of rivers. Despite a rough start in some confessional poems, this William and Mary professor (and coauthor of two entertainment biographies) gains in gracefulness as she escapes the confines of self, especially in the wonderful, four-act drama of —Four for Theodore Roethke,— which reenacts the Fall and fully lives up to her master’s equally dense-textured verse. Somewhat sentimental in poems about her domestic experiences and protests during the Vietnam War, the poet elsewhere acts squeamish over some fresh venison killed by menfolk. —Recipe,— though, nicely counters this animal pacifism with a detailed description of catching and dressing a terrapin for stew. Schoenberger further elegizes nature in poems capturing the lazy decay in Louisiana and the persistence of both wild flora and the slow-moving river. The presence of the past and the —menace in still things— reveal themselves in poems describing works of art about women. A hodge-podge of disparate subjects fills out a volume that should have been slimmed down to its best lyrics.