Cover image for The patience of ice
The patience of ice
Wood, Renate, 1938-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Evanston, Ill. : TriQuarterly Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
69 pages ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3573.O596 P37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Filled with awe at the improbable, incomprehensible trajectory of human experience, Renate Wood ponders history, memory, and family. Beginning with the sequence titled "German Chronicle," Wood evokes her childhood in Germany during the WWII, recording the war's impact on the world in general and on her family in particular. Her poems move between the past and the present, from family life to mythology, and are distinguished by intellectual and emotional courage, metaphoric surprise, and linguistic clarity.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Wood's sensitive, frequently autobiographical second book looks back in longing and pain to a childhood in World War II-era Germany, then pulls its readers slowly into an American present dominated by elegy. "My mother cared most about beauty," one sequence begins; "its absence/ hurt her like sickness, like loss of life." Surrounded in youth by deprivation, parental distress, and moral ambiguities, it is no wonder Wood's speaker seeks an uncomplicated American beauty ("brambles of blackberries, the plum tree's/ weighted branches"), and no wonder she often finds loss instead. Wood's strongest suit is simple reportage: when she recalls the "five thousand head of cattle" her father rescued, or observes (in a suite of poems about aging parents) her mother at 86, Wood (Raised Underground) makes it easy for readers to see what she sees. But the more meditative poems grow predictable: a poem remembering youth in America ends "ohh for polio,/ for summer gone, and ohhh for us and for, oh, everything." And another called "Holding On" asks "why one bird sings/ on its lonely perch and another flies straight/ into a country that shatters its heart." (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved