Cover image for They can't take that away from me
Title:
They can't take that away from me
Author:
Mazur, Gail.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
viii, 83 pages ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780226514444

9780226514451
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS3563.A987 T47 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

In this series of new poems Gail Mazur takes stock-of the complexity of relationships between parents and children, the desires of the body as well as its frailties, the distinctions between memory and history, and the hope of art to capture these seemingly inscrutable realities. By turns mordant and passionate, narrative and meditative, Mazur's poems imply that life, with all of its losses, triumphs, and abrasive intimacies, is far richer and more elaborately metaphorical than poetry can aspire to be-and yet her poems do affectingly recreate this reality. These illuminating poems are the work of an acclaimed poet at the top of her form.


Summary

In this series of new poems Gail Mazur takes stock-of the complexity of relationships between parents and children, the desires of the body as well as its frailties, the distinctions between memory and history, and the hope of art to capture these seemingly inscrutable realities. By turns mordant and passionate, narrative and meditative, Mazur's poems imply that life, with all of its losses, triumphs, and abrasive intimacies, is far richer and more elaborately metaphorical than poetry can aspire to be-and yet her poems do affectingly recreate this reality. These illuminating poems are the work of an acclaimed poet at the top of her form.


Author Notes

Gail Mazur is the author of Nightfire , The Pose of Happiness , and The Common , the last published by the University of Chicago Press. She is founder and director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and teaches in Emerson College's Graduate Program in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College.


Gail Mazur is the author of Nightfire , The Pose of Happiness , and The Common , the last published by the University of Chicago Press. She is founder and director of the Blacksmith House Poetry Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and teaches in Emerson College's Graduate Program in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College.


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Mazur's poems read like phone calls from a friend who confides a rush of contradictory feelings in a warm and compelling voice that could, dear reader, be your own. In "Questions," she reenacts the interrogations everyone performs on themselves in the dark times, sessions that revolve around the cry, "What is my purpose in life?" Elsewhere Mazur frets over her relationships with her mother and her daughter so naturally that it's easy to forget that these are keenly shaped poems that grow stealthily in complexity and resonance. A conversation with a stranger in a clinic, an old man spluttering racist remarks, takes the poet back to her childhood, a lost world where she shoplifted beauty aids and learned to drive. In "Girl in a Library," she wants to rescue a reading girl from what the future will bring, to tell her that "love's not safe for her." Safety, of course, is merely an illusion, as may be love, but, Mazur suggests, the very act of being, whatever the circumstances, is precious. Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Departing little from such well-titled volumes as The Common and The Pose of Happiness, this fourth collection contains well-crafted poems about Jewish-American middle-class midlife and strife, thoughtful ekphrases, and nostalgic goings-over of origins and relationships: "Once, when I was a child,/ my mother lied to me. Maybe that day/ I was too demanding, more likely I needed/ consolation my schoolmates so lucky,/ so confident,/ so gentile." Such concerns carry over into the poet's literary life (a dominant theme), as "Keep Going" makes clear: "...your name misspelled on last evening's program;// the party uptown after the ceremonies and readings / an editor praising C's poems as if you weren't// standing there beside him, craving appreciation." The title poem's Gershwin-refrained questionings "wouldn't I choose if I could not to be human or/ any other mammal programmed for cruelty?" give way, in "I Wish I Want I Need," to unhurried lines explaining the plot of the 1970s film The Way We Were and why the speaker admires Barbra Streisand's performance therein. The grasping Freudian overtones finally overwhelm poems like "My Dream after Mother Breaks Her Hip" ("I can't dream her power away/ I'm caught here/ in eternity's shade// where I begin to move/ gradually gracelessly/ to embrace her// tree muse emptiness/ cage world") and aren't really ever relieved here, even by "Three Provincetown Mornings." (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Mazur's poems read like phone calls from a friend who confides a rush of contradictory feelings in a warm and compelling voice that could, dear reader, be your own. In "Questions," she reenacts the interrogations everyone performs on themselves in the dark times, sessions that revolve around the cry, "What is my purpose in life?" Elsewhere Mazur frets over her relationships with her mother and her daughter so naturally that it's easy to forget that these are keenly shaped poems that grow stealthily in complexity and resonance. A conversation with a stranger in a clinic, an old man spluttering racist remarks, takes the poet back to her childhood, a lost world where she shoplifted beauty aids and learned to drive. In "Girl in a Library," she wants to rescue a reading girl from what the future will bring, to tell her that "love's not safe for her." Safety, of course, is merely an illusion, as may be love, but, Mazur suggests, the very act of being, whatever the circumstances, is precious. Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Departing little from such well-titled volumes as The Common and The Pose of Happiness, this fourth collection contains well-crafted poems about Jewish-American middle-class midlife and strife, thoughtful ekphrases, and nostalgic goings-over of origins and relationships: "Once, when I was a child,/ my mother lied to me. Maybe that day/ I was too demanding, more likely I needed/ consolation my schoolmates so lucky,/ so confident,/ so gentile." Such concerns carry over into the poet's literary life (a dominant theme), as "Keep Going" makes clear: "...your name misspelled on last evening's program;// the party uptown after the ceremonies and readings / an editor praising C's poems as if you weren't// standing there beside him, craving appreciation." The title poem's Gershwin-refrained questionings "wouldn't I choose if I could not to be human or/ any other mammal programmed for cruelty?" give way, in "I Wish I Want I Need," to unhurried lines explaining the plot of the 1970s film The Way We Were and why the speaker admires Barbra Streisand's performance therein. The grasping Freudian overtones finally overwhelm poems like "My Dream after Mother Breaks Her Hip" ("I can't dream her power away/ I'm caught here/ in eternity's shade// where I begin to move/ gradually gracelessly/ to embrace her// tree muse emptiness/ cage world") and aren't really ever relieved here, even by "Three Provincetown Mornings." (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
I Five Poems Entitled "Questions"
II Maybe It's Only the Monotony
Not Crying Evening I Wish I Want I Need Young Apple Tree, December
The Weskit Penumbra Last Night My Dream after Mother Breaks Her Hip
They Can't Take That Away from Me
III Hypnosis
At the Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic Girl in a Library
Twenty Lines before Breakfast Wakeful before Tests Shangri-la Two Bedrooms
IV Poems
Michelangelo: To Giovanni da Pistoia
When the Author Was Panting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel (translation)
V Air Drawing
Leah's Dream
Then Right Now Keep Going
The Beach Low Tide To Begin This Way Every Day
Three Provincetown Mornings Insomnia at Daybreak
Acknowledgments
I Five Poems Entitled "Questions"
II Maybe It's Only the Monotony
Not Crying Evening I Wish I Want I Need Young Apple Tree, December
The Weskit Penumbra Last Night My Dream after Mother Breaks Her Hip
They Can't Take That Away from Me
III Hypnosis
At the Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic Girl in a Library
Twenty Lines before Breakfast Wakeful before Tests Shangri-la Two Bedrooms
IV Poems
Michelangelo: To Giovanni da Pistoia
When the Author Was Panting the Vault of the Sistine Chapel (translation)
V Air Drawing
Leah's Dream
Then Right Now Keep Going
The Beach Low Tide To Begin This Way Every Day
Three Provincetown Mornings Insomnia at Daybreak

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