By Katha Pollitt
Within the Mind-Body challenge, Katha Pollitt takes the normal occasions of life–her personal and others’–and turns them into amazing, poignant, and sometimes humorous poems which are filled with surprises and originality. Pollitt’s mind's eye is stirred via clash and juxtaposition, via the distinction (but additionally the relationship) among common sense and feeling, among the true and the transcendent, among our outer and internal selves: Jane Austen slides her manuscript lower than her blotter, bewildered younger moms chat with courtesy at the playground, the easy traces of a chinese language bowl in a thrift shop remind the poet of the single obvious simplicities of her adolescence. The identify poem hilariously and ruefully depicts the friction among ardour and repression (“Perhaps / my physique could have cherished to make a few of our dates, / to come back domestic at 4 within the morning and resolution my scowl / with ‘None of your business!’ ”). In a series of 9 poems, Pollitt turns to the Bible for suggestion, reworking a few of the oldest stories of Western civilization into subversive glossy parables: What if Adam and Eve couldn’t wait to go away Eden? What if God wishes us greater than we want him?
With those relocating, bright, and completely certain poems, Katha Pollitt reminds us that poetry may be either profound and available, and reconfirms her status within the first rank of recent American poets.