The Ordinary Sublime by Patricia Waters


"A powerful, sobering collection of poems by Patricia Waters. A failed marriage is the framework, though its real focus is on re-learning how to see "daily life" as the "ordinary sublime." Not surprisingly, the arts play a central role throughout these poems--Vermeer, Rothko, Hopper--sometimes comforting, sometimes terrifying, but always serving as a standard measure for the speaker's experience: this is the authentic. It may be discovered in "Morning Coffee" (a brutal poem) or exhibited in the wry lyricism of "Girl" ("By the basin lavender soap/makes soft and sweet the sad old flesh"). If there is a signature piece here, it may be "As Heard Early Morning National Public Radio," in which the coast guard "rescues" a woman found three miles off the coast of Florida, "swimming, strongly, steadily/away from shore." You'll have to read THE ORDINARY SUBLIME to see what happens. It was well worth the wait."--Arthur Smith.

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