Monday Magazine Review of Green
Green is an appropriate title for Marilyn Bowering’s latest poetic success, as the book is lush with…
Posted By: Monday Magazine Staff
Green is an appropriate title for Marilyn Bowering’s latest poetic success, as the book is lush with new exploration and growth. Through imagery and language laid bare, she voices earned wisdom with the humble touch of an ingénue. Bowering sorts through death and remembrance with an eye for moving on, while slipping in wisps of life and wit. Her poems march through the personal, political and topical with a direct confidence.
Though it’s one collection, Green is spliced neatly into sections. In “metaphysics,” Bowering digs into miracles and impossibilities with a questioning confidence. In “coats,” she toys with symbolism, exploring all the connotations of outerwear, from seasonality to identity. “Stopping by” impresses with quick shifts and outlandishly sensible assertions. Bowering has a brave-faced joviality in many of these poems, and the courage of her enthusiasm makes her repeated use of the exclamation mark remarkably unobtrusive. With lines clear and coupled, she dissects grief, nature and everything in between with an expert and steadfast hand. These are boy-scout poems, honest in everything.
In a collection so centred on the personal, Bowering’s escape from censorship is admirable. The poems have the flow of brilliant first drafts, as if no line was ever crossed out. As she explores her environment, history and beliefs, Bowering concludes much about her connection to what she has and what she’s lost. She asks herself gaping questions and gives straight answers when she has them (and unapologetic shrugs when she doesn’t). She converses with the reader like a brave acquaintance and she never buries a deep idea between too many heavy layers.
What marks Bowering as a poet in this collection is an ability to deal with all kinds of death with a mature acceptance and a young hope that keeps the dark from being dreary, and the light from looking empty.