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This is Not a Letter (hardcover)

Kay Boyle

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Kay Boyle
This is Not a Letter (hardcover)
Series No.: SM Boyle
ISBN: 978-0940650619, Pages:
American Literature, Poetry

A Sun & Moon title.

* * *

At first glance, Boyle's latest verse collection is a sequence of poems written to, or in honor of, various friends, among them Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, whom she knew as an expatriate novelist in Europe. But the real connecting thread is the theme of death, the loss of one's friends, home, possessions, of one's life, and the need to come to terms with loss. The poet mourns the death of one of her students ("Return/ I say return/ I cry it under the tall campus trees"). She sketches a cameo of a "painter bent on suicide" ("You drive a hard-nosed, ungelded bargain/ with the times"). In lyrical travelogues she ponders the after-effects of an earthquake and tours a desolate 17th century village in the south of France. The sensitive music of her poems plumbs the fine line that separates hope and despair. Boyle ends on an optimistic note with this Shakespearean couplet: "Let it be courage that our tongues compose/ There being no refuge from the hurricane that blows."

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