MOTHER IS by Siv Cedering Fox


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Fox, a Swede, writes poetry quite well in English -- which is in itself a modest accomplishment. Enough, anyway, to impress the judges who gave her a Boreston Mountain Poetry Award and a New York State Council on the Arts fellowship to prime the pump. She's produced 31 very short pieces, all told, divided into three categories: Kin, Bestiary, Herbal. The family sketches about the spinster aunt who has to sleep in a cold bed, the mother in an asylum (a Catholic with ""sexual obsessions""), a faceless father, are nicely done though neither original nor probing. The ""beasts"" include a whimpering transvestite, dwarfs, twins who hate each other, and a masturbatory art curator. Unpleasant, but not as shocking as they pretend to be. Where fruits and flowers are the premise for poetry, she achieves a bit more in the way of innuendo -- establishing a mysterious link between saffron and death, between Van Gogh's cut ear and female menstruation, between flower beds and husbands. She's good on spells and incantations and has a flair for the erotic. Limited charm; dispensable.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1975
Publisher: Stein & Day