Monday, February 13, 2012

From The Viewing Stand Poems by Madeline Tiger

From The Viewing Stand
Poems by Madeline Tiger
2011 Dos Madres Press Inc.
Loveland OH
Softbound, 24 pages, No Price
ISBN 978-1-933675-67-1

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

When I open a book of poetry and find favorable comments on the poets previous work by poets such as Alicia Ostriker, Toi Derricotte and Gerald Stern, I naturally expect to find enjoyable, even deep work by the author.

Ms. Tiger lives up to my expectations. Yes, she is an adult, but the poetry is yesterday, written as if she were still a young girl. She brings the past to the present, her childhood brought forth for the reader to understand as an adult. She told of her young girl’s life from the vantage point of adulthood. She brings the past into the reality of the present. You may find that was acceptable no longer is. Fantasies that one discovers in adult years were reality. The Holocaust, for example. A game seen later as potential child abuse or pedophilia? Dark family secrets…are they real or in the child/adult mind?

In Sunday Visit we learn:

Jovial Uncle Eph, that old man
gnarling toward the end of the garden,
gnashing. “Jovial” the grown-ups call him.
They’re having tea on the porch. Do they
see? Is this the game. Is he a gnome?

From The Viewing Stand, the title poem, presents another of familial memory:

I am four. Nobody told me
how to climb this marquee.
Scary heights, all those
empty benches. Sky far
out there and the trees,
I’m almost as high as
those leafy branches
Mommy and Daddy are far
down, they warned me
I must stay up here.
I don’t want to stay
or go. I only know
how far it is between us
and how hard he swings.
Sometimes he misses but
he keeps on

What makes this book work so well is the strong, convincing voice that is both disturbing and compelling, that delivers to the reader a collection of poems of her private fears and, in the end, some modicum of hope.

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