Reviews

Sense and Sensibility

It is a rare American poem, this late in the 20th century, that dares to be understood. Jane Greer's slim volume, Bathsheba on the Third Day, is full of such poems, which give this first book a mature heft and solidity.

The maturity should not be surprising. Jane Greer is the founding editor of Plains Poetry Journal, and her own poetry reflects the high standards she has set for her nationally recognized journal. What marks Jane Greer's writing is its sureness in handling poetic traditions for her own purposes and effects—themselves highly personal and original.

The strength of individual poems in this collection is matched by their organization into a book with the old virtues of a beginning, middle, and end. The unifying topic is love, as the allusion in the title poem suggests. But this most traditional of subjects—Robert Graves called it the only subject of true poetry—is also the most difficult to handle successfully, that is to say, with economy and effect. The title poem is a good example of the novelty of approaches Greer uses to handle the oldest of themes:

Hot, hot, hot

is all those spooky crows

can think to say. We ought

to have some people over,

take in a funny show,

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