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The Woman I Kept to Myself

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The works of this award-winning poet and novelist are rich with the language and influences of two cultures: those of the Dominican Republic of her childhood and the America of her youth and adulthood. They have shaped her writing just as they have shaped her life. In these seventy-five autobiographical poems, Alvarez’s clear voice sings out in every line. Here, in the middle of her life, she looks back as a way of understanding and celebrating the woman she has become.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 22, 2004 – Author of the popular novels How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, Alvarez continues to explore themes of cultural difference and personal experience in her new collection of poems. The book, which marks her fourth collection of poetry, comprises 75 poems of 30 lines each; the formal constraint is an organizing principle for these sometimes meandering autobiographical poems. A good many poems explore her development and status as a writer, specifically as a Latina: "Even I, childless one, intend to write/ New Yorker fiction in the Cheever style / but all my stories tell where I came from." The midsection of the book, "The Woman I Kept to Myself," roams from nostalgic reflections on childhood birthday presents to meditations on eating disorders to speedily resolved family conflicts to personal, and worldwide, losses: "Why did it take so long? Mom and Dad's deaths/ a friend's cancer, a cousin's accident/ the Twin Towers, the war on innocents...." Seeing the first signs of spring sets the world to rights again: "Then suddenly, a daffodil, a patch/ of crocuses... and back into the intact Towers flew/ stick figures, like a film in reverse." Most poems here arrive at similar recastings of hard truths; often, however, one feels that both sides of the equation are too easily won, drawing close to clich and facile reconciliation: "I've woken to the world just as it is," she writes, "and that's enough in fact, more than enough."
The Woman I Kept to Myself
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Apr 05, 2011
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Seller: Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Print Length: 176 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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