Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Rope Bridge

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Rope Bridge

Article excerpt

Rope Bridge, by Nan Cohen. Cherry Grove Collections, March 2005. $17

Though this is her first book, Nan Cohen's poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and have won her various honors, including, most recently, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. In this collection, bridges serve as an organizing motif: in their different ways, these poems are about crossing from one stage or moment of a life to the next. Sometimes that process involves facing hard things-fear, death, and "that slow disaster, time"-but the poems approach such subjects with redeeming clarity. Throughout the book, Cohen combines humor with a sturdy grace. "Dr. Steiner" is surely the loveliest account of visiting an otolaryngologist you'll ever come across. And here are a few lines from "Between Voyages": "I love the unexpected alleys terminating in a brass memorial / to some poet or playwright, the shop windows full of- / live turtles once, / once a flock of gloves all hanging by their fingertips. …

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