Thursday, May 26, 2011

Almond Town: Poems by Margaret Young.

Almond Town: Poems by Margaret Young. ( Bright Hills Press 94 Church Street POBOX 193 Treadwell, NY.) $16.

Review by Doug Holder

Margaret Young, a fellow faculty member at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. can define with a skillful selection of words the worlds of sadness and gladness. She can marvel at her youth, but at the same time see the blush turn to a bloom, and foresee its preordained wilt.

I am most struck by her poems about her days in a theatrical troupe she formed decades ago. Here she captures the visceral feel of being young, creative, and supremely alive—but still with a gimlet eye toward the future. Case in point: her poem “Theatrical Residency, Pennsylvania Mining Town,” concerns her life as an actor in a down-at-the heels burg:

“Knelling in the bingo hall

smudges tights with cigarette ash:

this is a church but I’m down

here to rehearse the Wacko Song

as Prince the Wonderdog or plead

that Capulet not marry me to Paris

and its old nunnery next door

is where I knelt once just

inside the entrance to my small

pink room to suck my lover

off: when you’re twenty-five

you think your knees and love

will last forever so you run

up and down slag heaps

in ten dollar sneakers, each tree

younger than you, and back

through street of this slow-

dying town where recorded

Bells wake us every blessed day.”

I loved the image of a young woman running, and running by even younger trees. Fleeting youth framed by a strip of seminal trees-- now why couldn't I think of that!

And in her poem “Movie Set, Pittsburgh” she show us the high holy in the lowly pedestrian:

“Waiting for fake rain


we pull blossoms off

the parking lot’s


skinny tree.”

Highly Recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Margaret, this looks awesome. You're right in my backyard (We're in North Beverly!).