Impressive Work by Two Poets Women Show Depth in Theme

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THE END OF DESIRE

Poems by Jill Bialosky

80 pages, Knopf, $21 WHAT ARE BIG GIRLS MADE OF? Poems by Marge Piercy 160 pages, Knopf, $25 *** IN A 1925 COLLECTION of essays published by Alfred A. Knopf, the Chicago Post book editor, Llewellyn Jones, praised and quoted four younger women poets - Edna Millay, Genevieve Taggard, Louise Bogan and Elinor Wylie - all later to become standard names in American anthologies. In nearly four generations since, Knopf has continued to publish and promote new poetry by American women. That tradition is strikingly evident in Jill Bialosky's "The End of Desire," a distinguished first book by a younger poet whose work has already appeared in many magazines and won several awards. It contains 40 poems of finely balanced fantasy and reality, crisply descriptive and delicately sensuous. Color and imagery abound, especially in such poems as "Carousel," "Carni val," "Skating Pond" and "Blueberries." In other pieces, especially "American Landscape," "Silver" and "Stairway to Heaven," Bialosky shows a new imagism the old Imagists might have envied. Yet Bialosky's emotion transcends her scenes and settings; in "Grief," for instance, or "The Day the World Stopped," where she observes, "If there is a sound the heart makes when it breaks/it wasn't heard." Bialosky's strong influences include Bogan, Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson. Beneath her imagism are powerful loyalties, in mother, sister, friend, lover and paternal relationships. Her long, 10-part opening poem, "Fathers in the Snow," is one of the finest recent poetic tributes to a father, reminiscent of Sharon Olds' book, "The Father" (also published by Knopf). Jill Bialosky's poetry has grace, depth, dignity. Marge Piercy - mature, experienced and widely translated - has published 30 books of poems, fiction, essays and drama, most still in print. …