by Wendy Wisner

The Volcano Sequence

The Volcano Sequence (University of Pittsburgh Press, $12.95) is Alicia Ostriker’s tenth volume of poems. Ostriker, a former Lilith poetry editor, gives a vivid portrait of a woman at a turning point in her life, a narrator whose voice is full of contradiction. She is lucid and erratic, forthcoming and withdrawn, righteous and vulnerable, rebellious and tame. We catch her in the midst of a dialogue with a being who is just as complex and elusive, addressed as “you paradigm paradox / you absent presence…you good evil.” In language by turns sparse, lyric, erotic, and conversational, Ostriker’s narrator asks this being urgent questions about life and purpose, separation and attachment, pain and rebirth.

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