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Yale Series of Younger Poets #0072: Beginning with Oby Olga Broumas
Winner of the 72nd Yale Younger Award, this is a lyrical collection bursting with eroticism. In it Broumas recasts figures of Greek myth (Artemis, Demeter, Calypso, Circe, others) and rewrites modern fairy tales (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel) in a distinctly female context. It is not an old hag who keeps Rapunzel locked away in a tower, but an older lover:
Climb through my hair, climb in to me, love
hovers here like a mother's wish. You might have been, though you're not my mother. You let loose like hair, like static her stilled wish, relentless in me and constant as tropical growth.
You can see that Broumas is not coy about her intentions. The whole book, pivoting around themes of immersion and rebirth, longing and fulfillment, is filled with explicit, Sapphic sexuality. This makes the book a political statement, but read carefully, it's much more than that. It's a book of lyric outburst, vigilantly attended to by Broumas's command of syntax, dense imagery, and musical phrase.
Synopses & Reviews
This is a book of letting go, of wild avowals, unabashed eroticism; at the same time it is a work of integral imagination, steeped in the light of Greek myth that is part of the poet's heritage and imbued with an intuitive sense of dramatic conflicts and resolutions, high style, and musical form.
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