Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Grace Paley's "Fidelity"

2nd NE Quadrant\The Approval Matrix: Week of March 24, 2008

"Fidelity", the excellent new collection of poetry by Grace Paley (FSG, March 18th 2008), is a fitting final release (she died in August, aged 84). It is about the experience of being old, and the often painful separation between the poet and her world. Paley builds her poems organically and spaciously--they seem to expand in the air and dissipate foggily, barely located anymore in time and space. She saw herself as if through the lens of a camera, as though she did not inhabit the body she wrote about. In poems such as "When", she leaves physical spaces in between her words, echoing the fatigue and remove the speaker has from the action:

When she came to meet him at the ferry
he said you are so pale worn so
frail standing on her toes
to reach his ear she whispered
I am an old woman oh then
he was always kind

-- More Intelligentlife

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