Robert Pinsky on Elise Partridge
Robert Pinsky’s “Poet’s Choice” column in Last Sunday’s Washington Post featured a nice review of Elise Partridge’s new book of poems, Chameleon Hours. Pinsky’s column quotes several of Partridge’s poems and praises her unique vision that allows her to transform even her darkest hours into cause for linguistic celebration. Pinsky writes:
Some readers will recognize Partridge’s name and recall her poems about cancer treatment that appeared in the New Yorker in recent years, including “Chemo Side Effects: Vision.” That poem, collected in this book, begins by saying how printed words “fizzle” as “gnats in dervish clouds.” Those phrases about temporarily impaired vision have so much energy that the feeling is almost gleeful, as if to say that even this deterioration can occasion the thrill of language. The same poem contains the lines:
Eyes that have brought me so many words,
are you too dim for the world to keep courting?
Days, lay out your wares in the honking bazaar!
The “wares” of daily, physical experience are humdrum and desired, gaudy and precious. What an ironic word “dim” is for the sharp, bright way this poet sees. In their ample, embracing, nuanced appetite for sensory experience, her poems achieve an ardent, compassionate and unsentimental vision.
Read the rest of “Poet’s Choice” including another poem, “In the Barn,” on the Washington Post website.