Duet in the Little Blue Church: New and Selected Poems
In this impressive volume poet Sharon Chmielarz has drawn from a lifetime of work--four decades and fourteen books in all--to present a representative selection of her wide-ranging interests and imagination. Early poems draw their imagery from working-class family life--a focus that expanded to include the lives of particular women, daughter/father relationships, widowhood, and other more curious and metaphysical themes often related in a wry and enigmatic style that bears comparison to such modern Polish masters as Szymborska and Milosz. The European element is strong, extending from the streets of Warsaw to the impressions of Nannerl Mozart in Paris, but so is the immigrant experience of the Great Plains--the author was born and raised in South Dakota. In a central section titled "On the Prairie," Chmielarz has chosen poems from three of her books to evoke both the feel and the sometimes grueling history of those new arrivals who followed the trails west.