RIFE by Stefanie Marlis


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Marlis, a copywriter from California, whose first book (Slow Joy) won Wisconsin's 1989 Brittingharn Prize, is a good-natured and empathetic poet whose light philosophizing begins in simple things: buttons, sand, stars, flowers. She affectionately dotes on less popular critters, whether funky dogs or skunks, a child's pet lizard or unwanted pigeons. In her tranquil verse, Marlis prefers a world ""where kindness is possible,"" where we must soften ourselves for love (""Butter""). The abundance suggested by the title (""there's so much of so much"") is spoken to by a lexicon of 15 impressionistic ""definitions,"" each of them an association of images built up from a word. ""Proffer"" asks for the kind of love she witnesses between lovers at a coffeehouse; ""ilk"" joins her with friends in their similar fears; and ""echo"" resounds with the memory of a loved one's death. ""Not afraid of sweetness,"" the poet loves fruit, candy, and sentiment-her fragile poems fall apart from little more than a rigorous glance.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Sarabande--dist. by Consortium