Sunday, November 14, 2010

Present Tense – Anna Rabinowitz

Rabinowitz’s poetry swings on a pendulum between incomprehensible and banal. When her poetry does make sense, it is either maudlin and preachy or smug with its own “cleverness”. Though I have nothing against political poetry, Rabinowitz lacks the skill to make it interesting. My favorite poem was “Gun Moose Snow”, which describes a female hunter shooting a moose. The fact that it’s a woman is intriguing, and the images are provocative and effective. It concludes:

So it goes:
          unraveled chevrons of crimson
               darn white snow, a toppled belly
     ringed by the broad, black wheel
Of eagleflight.

His amber pile,
     riddled with hoarfrost,
Punctures the lowering dark
          with stippled light.

Rivers clotted with ice lumber through frozen fields.
Later, in her notes at the end of the book, Rabinowitz feels the need to mention that this poem is about Sarah Palin, which utterly ruins it for me.

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