THE UNDERTOW by Susan Snively


Email this review


Snively, the director of Amherst's writing center, offers her third poetry collection as a statement of life at 50, after a bad marriage and failed love affairs. But in these short-lined, mostly straight-forward poems, Snively is more rueful and wry than bitter. Her regrets include meals she never cooked, dances she never danced, and songs unsung (""Too Late""). She's ""A Woman Holding a Balance,"" as one poem is titled, and her most obvious concern is with death, especially in the long sequence, ""The Speed of Drift,"" which chronicles friends' deaths from AIDS and cancer, and also borrows death scenes from movies and books; the title poem contemplates the deaths of her parents and finds her railing at her Calvinist background. Elsewhere, in the best poem, """"The Auld Sod,"" Snively admires the dirt and stink of her Scottish ancestors, which she details with uncharacteristic wit and clarity. Too many clunky phrases (""art's fruited limbs,"" ""hoping against hope,"" ""memorious jazz"") are altogether more typical of this bland book.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0813015685
Page count: 76pp
Publisher: Univ. Press of Florida