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Sheila E. Murphy:

Sun/Gemini Press
PO Box 42170
Phoenix AZ, 85733

90 pp., $12.95 paper/$20 hardcover

A book of poetry with an unusual premise: each section consisting of 36 poems written to one of the poet's brothers, on the occasion of each's 36th birthday. The volume is professionally produced, bound in signatures with color covers, and wider than tall to allow ample space for some of the poems' long lines. The poetry is personal and intimate, addressing the issues of a particular family and particular relationships, but there is nothing maudlin about the writing, and it contains none of the usual cliches of "confessional" discourse. The language of these poems moves seamlessly between what Janet Grey, in a comment on the cover, calls the "pre-grammatical" and the "narrative"--this is a major factor in creating the sense of intense but relaxed caring and attention directed both at the subject/objects of the writing (the poet's brothers), and at the act and process of writing itself. The book is a treasure; accessible and elusive, personal and universal, innovative and immersed in the most traditional of the functions of poetry: to illuminate living.--John M. Bennett

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #5,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1996.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press