In her tenth collection, Catharine Savage Brosman's singular voice is heard again as she develops themes featured in her earlier work and adds new ones, displaying her full range of poetic craftsmanship and style and, as one critic wrote, using metaphors brilliantly fitted in detail to the moods and workings of the human heart and mind. A prefatory poem, To Readers, uses the figure of trees to emphasize the truth, beauty, mystery, and automy of poetry. Yet it is clear that in Brosman's work the art of verse is closely connected to human experience, the very feel of which comes through in the poems that follow. The title poem, set in New Mexico, evokes happy moments, good taste in food and art, and serenity, as all, even regret, [is] silvered in the sunlight and the shade. A Late Summer Idyll reinforces that happiness with images of mountains shimmering in September haze, new currencies of color, and the joys of love. But the te of regret, implied from the outset, surfaces in depictions of the smoky sky over a forest fire. Death presents itself in evocations of a man's last night, a dog soon to die, a botched suicide, and graveyards. Figures connected to wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Empress Eugenie of France, appear in elegiac or dramatic poems. The theme of art and its relationship to human striving has a major place, in poems featuring musicians, painters, poets, and dancers. A group of short satiric poems in rhymed tetrameter recalls eighteenth-century satiric verse. Finally, a sequence of twenty poems, A Voyager's Journal, recreates in varying forms the sights and experiences of traveling in South America. The concluding poem, Sunset, hors Monet and returns to the serene mode of earlier poems in the collection.
Catharine Savage Brosman , who lives in Houston, is professor emerita of French at Tulane University, USA and honorary research professor at the University of Sheffield, UK. She currently serves as poetry editor for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture . Brosman is the author or editor of numerous books on French literature.