THE MARRIAGE WIG and Other Poems by Ruth Whitman

THE MARRIAGE WIG and Other Poems

Email this review


The title refers to the old custom of Eastern European Jews when the brides shaved their heads in token of submission and donned a marriage wig, and several of the poems here, ethnic, witty and free-wheeling, deal with hair-cutting (Rapunzel's, a nun's, a daughter's, a bride's). The first section is more closely concerned with personal growing-up through the fears and restrictions of childhood and custom into a triumphant maturity as wife and mother in which the universe seems like a distracted housekeeper, ""keeping/ every star prompt. She puffs along/ ... steers clouds, fans winds, and slicen/ or mends the moon."" In the second half, the poems open outward to scenes of Greece, Egypt, Pompeii, and Miss Whitman looks at life, age and other people with a half-humorous awareness. The mixture of no-nonsense frankness and slightly bizarre fantasy is appealing.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1968
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World