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Unmentionablesby Beth Ann Fennelly
Synopses & Reviews
With elegant wordplay and her usual subversive wit, Beth Ann Fennelly explores the "unmentionable"--not only what is considered too bold but also what can't be said because words are insufficient. In sections of short narratives, she questions our everyday human foibles. Three longer sequences display her admirable reach and fierce intelligence: One, "The Kudzu Chronicles," is a rollicking piece about the transplanted weed. Another, "Bertha Morisot: Retrospective," conjures up a complex life portrait of the French impressionist painter. The third presents fifteen dream songs that virtually out-Berryman Berryman.
"What happens when a child of troubled parents from the cold rural Midwest grows up, gets married, bears a son and a daughter, and settles down to writing and teaching poetry amid the abundant heat of Oxford, Mississippi? Fennelly's very likable third book of verse (she's also the author of Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother) pursues such questions with vigor and ease. 'A girl at thirty-two, who likes to think she was a rebel,' Fennelly splits her attention between her loves and her duties at home (one poem is called 'People Ask What My Daughter Will Think of My Poems When She's 16,') and the fertile landscape outside her door, where the 'kudzu sees a field of cotton,/ wants to be its better half,' and the humidity (she says) encourages couples to copulate. A funny sestina shows her technical skill; an impressive sequence follows the life of the Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot, inspired by motherhood to 'paint fresh as a child sees,' while a less impressive sequence addresses, and imitates, John Berryman, never rising above pastiche. Readers will most likely enjoy, and remember, Fennelly's most affable, and most personal work-her sweet, enthusiastic memories of good sex in many locales, the comic moments she shares with her children, and her walks around her adopted region, where William Faulkner's grave inspires her to ask 'Am I not a Southern writer now.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A new collection by a poet declared "one of the most exciting poets of her generation" (Harvard Review).
'Insouciant, sexy, funny, and dead-on . . . a startlingly empathetic series of concise and slashing poems."Booklist
About the Author
Beth Ann Fennelly is the author of Unmentionables, Tender Hooks, Open House and Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
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