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Books Noted
Alicia Suskin Ostriker, The Book of Seventy

 

University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009

In this passionate, thoughtful collection, Ostriker approaches aging, politics, myth, and sensuality. With wisdom, she lyrically questions the world and the death and beauty that are a part of it. Demeter, Persephone, Gaia, Kali, NPR, and "the Surgeon" inhabit these poems and illuminate the difficult choices one makes along the course of a lifetime. In Ostriker's poems, desire is medicine for the fear of death, and honest directness is political. Jean Valentine writes that "The Book of Seventy will speak to everyone: Alicia Ostriker's honest voice, her wisdom, her gutsiness; her scholarly, longing mind; her knowing body;
. . . and from the first page to the last, her long-recognized courage in facing down—even welcoming—just about everything." With clear sadness and joy, Ostriker writes in "Demeter to Persephone":

you stared at me without love in your large eyes
that were filled with black sex and white powder

but this is what I expected and when I embraced you
Your firm little breasts against my amplitude

Get in the car I said
and then it was spring


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