Synopses & Reviews
THESE POWERFUL POEMS are like wrecked pastorals whose narrator seeks temporary pleasure in wit, form, rhyme, or the borrowed weekend house. Inching toward consolation in the face of sudden loss, the poet examines the reconfigured world. The elegies are like conversations overheard or recounted dreams: full of portent and mystery.
"Since winning the undergraduate's Hopwood Prize at Yale in the late '90s, Goodyear has been pretty much unstoppable, landing first at PW, and then, quickly, at the New Yorker, where she is now a staff writer, and where several of the poems from this debut collection first appeared. They have a stark set of emotional registers that blend lingering anger over parental neglect and divorce ('Mother was never in the same room with any of us./ I think she was a hostess, in which case I should say,/ Thank you for having me') with patrician codes, and the cool accusations, failures, actings out and excitements of current loves. They often read as if a Susan Minot character were channeling Dorothy Parker: 'Give the hypothermic girl/ a stiff hot drink./ The mouth of a stranger is a pocket of breathable air./ Its spit is a warm vital flow.' All the poems are short and well-calibrated. Some have Dickinson-like formal rhymes that come off as motivated, if not always satisfying ('And human love and unison are null/ when even solitude is terminal'); some are littered with offhand allusions to class trappings that fail to sustain ('Cross-breeze. Swiss dot. View'). Goodyear is at her best when her speaker is at her meanest, which isn't quite often enough, but taken as a whole, her poems perfectly reproduce the claustrophobic atmosphere of love among the ruins of plenty. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)