Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hugh Fox Reviews "Shadow People" by Molly Lynn Watt

This review appeared in the March/April 2007 issue of the "small press review"

Shadow People: Poems by Molly Lynn Watt (Ibbetson Street Press- 2006) orderfrom

Watt is kind of a flesh-and-blood monument in the Boston area, totallyinvolved with the poetic life there, but she reads like some kind of youngworld-traveller soaked in world-literature, concentrating especially on the ephemeralness of human existence. As in this in Memoriam poem titled simply“Margie”(1916-1999): “It is always spring where she sits in her chair/underMonet’s blue sky and fields of tulips/ Her fragile body bends over the nailclippers.../shaking/both hands shaking....” (p.25)

Unexpected poems here about the Yup’ik Indians in Alaska, theMendenhall Glacier and the Tlingit Indians (again Alaska), Central Park inNYC during the winter, streetlife in Boston-Cambridge,everything always witha sense of transience, everything evaporating, vanishing away, even when she writes about the year she was born, 1938:

“That bloody year of 1938 when I was born..../Nazis carried out pogroms against the Jewish Born...//Storm troopers smashed synagogues and shops and homes/Time named Hitler man of the year....” (“1938,” p. 11).

At the same time that she’s lamenting the shortness of life, swirling in memories of lost-time, she preaches deliciously Debussyan delicatesermons on grasping the Here and Now: “...Wear a crown of daisies/Build afire on sand.../Listen for the peepers/Wait for fireflies in the meadow.”(“Abandon Your Shoes,” p.51).

A living classic.

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