RIFE by Stefanie Marlis


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paper 1-889330-12-4 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
ISBN: 1-889330-11-6
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Sarabande
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998