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Night of the Lunar Eclipse [Paperback]

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Item description for Night of the Lunar Eclipse by Margaret Szumowski...

From Men in Love with Les Parisiennes:

Some handsome friend of mine says French
women vraiment "know how to dress." What do
they do, that we do not? French women steal our men.

Margaret Szumowski's penetrating and good-humored voice is unmistakable. In warm, lucid lines she serves up the surprises and ironies that fill our otherwise normal lives with forgiveness and loss and the delights of cheating the devil. Rebecca Seiferle says, "These poems are convincingly ecstatic; the beloved is everywhere, and each particular place perches precariously on the rim of paradise."

Margaret Szumowki's debut volume, I Want This World, won the Peace Corps Writers Award for best book of poetry in 2002. Szumowski lives and teaches in Springfield, Massachusetts.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.7" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2005
Publisher   Tupelo Press
ISBN  1932195238  
ISBN13  9781932195231  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Night of the Lunar Eclipse?

A World of Marvels  Mar 21, 2006
Margaret Szumowski's gorgeous new book of poems, The Night of the Lunar Eclipse, promises us a world of marvels, and takes us there. With daring and panache, Szumowski holds nothing back, launching herself and us into a series of unexpected and passionate rendezvous with family members, with the body, with geography and history, with death and with life.

Danger lurks in these poems, as in the opening line of "by the light of her flaming baton": "She dips it in kerosene, throws it lit into the night." Yet, despite the implicit danger, this is a poet whom we will follow, irresistibly seduced by her wry humor, her hard-earned wisdom, her ecstatic endorsement of life in all its perils and riches.

This is a poet whose gusto for life seizes us: "The old man loves the naked women in the museum, / calls to his old wife not to leave him behind / in the room with all the Renoir women." Which of us doesn't want to stay there with him?

If you want to feel more alive, and more grateful for the one life offered you, open this book. Its poems will lead you to that place.
Cheers for Night of the Lunar Eclipse   Feb 21, 2006
Margaret Szumowski has an affinity for light in all its meanings. Her poetry personifies light. Her latest book, Night of the Lunar Eclipse explores light in all its meanings. Perhaps most pervasive a sense of "light after death." Her poem, "His Fingertips," in her latest book makes the reader use all senses.

"Andrew and I want to be light enough
to dance at Steve's wedding, our bodies one shadow
by the bayou."

Dance, music and that shadow include the shadow of death, hanging over Michael, her angel brother, who appears in so many of the poems she shares with us. He is in "Silhouette of a Music Stand in an Empty Room." He stars in "L. A. in the Green Spring," in "Sea Wind" and in many other poems in the book.

In "Night Women's Triolet," she tells us early on that
"I fight the darkness from my head
again. I fall in love with light." While in "The Room Loves Her," we see that "The room longs for her like a lover, would give her all its light."

That is clearly true. Her light is cast from distances, where her shadows, the reader's shadows are so deep. She was, in her teens, a fire baton twirler, and her tribute to that skill and to her brother as she throws her memory baton into the sky "By the Light of Her Flaming Baton" is rich with family, memory and pain. Her focus is honed by light, by the lights of love, of family, of memory.

We also learn of pain. In "Bridge Repair," where "Without this bridge, I can't get to the other side." In "Tough Customer" she makes a choice "only a dope chooses John the Baptist as her first customer," that forces her to acknowledge her dark side/night side. Night is another constant in these poems. "We cannot extinguish the night!" she tells us.

Through her skin we share family history, experiences in art museums, school, travel in and out of the United States and daily life in Western Massachusetts. These may give her joy, pain or pause, and the subject matter that she parses through her Night of the Lunar Eclipse.

"Falling in at Summer School" recreates the experience of being 18 in France. I would love to have been there. Szumowski remembers everything, as the antique dealers say, and so she brings her everything to her poetry. " Sauerkraut Supper" and "Self Portrait in a Helicopter" are some of those memories.

"Beauty Pageant in Sarajevo" describes what we think is her sense of power and the recognition the contestants seem to accord her ability to see beauty. The last line, though, is the description of the sign saying, in capital letters "PLEASE DO NOT KILL US" and so we stop, shocked and scared with and for them.

From museums to beaches to markets in Central America, roads in Uganda and Florida, and schools in Iowa, Massachusetts and Europe, Szumowski gives us a present. She interprets her world through her poet's eye so we can all share it.

Night of the Lunar Eclipse is a physically beautiful book. The cream paper, the arched strokes below each page number echoing the curve on the title page add to the reader's pleasure. Small Roman numerals divide the poems into sections, each with its own title.

This is a book to savor and cherish.


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