Review: Dietz, Perennial Fall
When Dietz writes of bowls and hinges, I am reminded of Borges’s distaste for the criticism of T. S. Eliot, who always seemed to be “agreeing with that professor or disagreeing with another.” Borges preferred Emerson, whose writing suggested personal experience of his subjects, as does Dietz’s best work, which is intimate, idiomatic, and thoroughly original. Thus “Bird Bath” which deals with grief, shows the side of the bereaved that is hopeful (“Mute eyes dreaming a sense / of heaven, of what is next.”) and, at the same time, the side that is bereft (“But / everywhere the bald world and cold”). Even the saddest of topics becomes manageable in this poet’s skillful hands.
At the heart of this unusually accomplished and affecting first book of poetry is the idea of the hinge—the point of connection, of openings and closings. Maggie Dietz situates herself in the liminal present, bringing together past and future, dream and waking, death and life. Formally exact, rigorous, and tough, these poems accept no easy answers or equations.