The Price of Being Human

In her tenth volume of poetry, Catharine Savage Brosman has given readers a wide array of skillfully written and insightful poems that capture the poet’s keen observations of nature, her journeys from New Mexico to Antarctica, and her sense of humor and wit.  Framed by travel adventures in the United States and a series of 20 poems based on two sea journeys, the poems illustrate Brosman’s formalist skills in handling iambic pentameter and quatrains, as well as eight-line stanzas, both rhymed and unrhymed.  Two epigraphs (one from Marcel Proust, the other from the minimalist sculptor Carl Andre) and an introductory poem, “To Readers,” hint of themes and images explored in this volume: The language, imagery, and quest for meaning lie in the experiences themselves.

Brosman’s poetic skill merges rich details, intelligence, and a knowledge of the many levels on which we experience time: the personal, the historic, and the geologic.  “Vermilion Cliffs,” early in the collection, illustrates this skill.  Noting her departure from “the North Rim of the Canyon, passing by high meadows / and through the Kaibab forest,” the poet mentions the myriad types of trees, but it’s her vivid description of the colors of the plateau that capture the reader’s attention as she and her husband Patric cross

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