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“Marked by an inimitable anecdotal expansiveness and uncompromising control, Jacqueline Osherow’s poems are among the most ambitious being written. Here is a poet who can take any subjectno matter how dauntingand make it her own, giving it another life in the rich captivating cadences of her voice. I am always deeply absorbed when I read Osherow’s work, and I never fail to be exhilarated by its scope, its narrative ease, its good-natured and probing intelligence.”Mark Strand
With a Moon in Transit
978-0-8021-1599-7 • $18.00 • Cloth • Oct. 1996
In With a Moon in Transit, Jacqueline Osherow has given us her most accomplished poetry to date. Integrating the strengths of her earlier work—humor, honesty, artifice, testimony—into compelling poems of great vigor and charm, she combines the often antithetical impulses of lyric and narrative verse. The result is an aesthetic largely her own, one that permits Osherow to treat emotionally charged events and elaborate ideas with remarkable control.
Like the moon mentioned in the title, Osherow’s eye wanders across her world without preconception and without inhibition. She observes, and her observations are by turns gossipy, grand, sober, and hilarious. The poet invites her audience to share in her curiosity, in her eavesdropping and analysis, and the effect is one of intimacy and ease.
Osherow sustains a disarming tone over many pages, and she manages to assimilate elements of both high and popular culture without apparent strain. While firmly rooted in the Hebrew Bible, her verse is also informed by authors as various as Dante and Dickinson. Yet for all that these poems are alive to the literary past, they remain sensitive to the rhythms of conversation and the tones of everyday speech. Osherow’s poems are composed with great clarity and rigor, but they never cease to sound casually spoken.