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book

Burning of the Three Fires

Year

2010

Type

Poetry Book
Burning of the Three Fires by Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Beaumont's third book of poetry moves through several realms of experience—even the afterlife—with sly artistry. The first several poems breathe new life into everyday objects—a dressing table, discarded orange peels, a cicada's wings, and buttons are rendered with the attention of a miniaturist. From "In Pursuit of the Original Trinket":

Does any thing fit?
Appearing as from a magician's trick cabinet—

          a triad of pink piglets
          a trivet too dinky to be of use
          triplet kittens linked by a miniscule chain

          a three-car train to ring the rink of the rail
              set
          third-rate stones that blink from an anklet

The emotional landscapes of domesticity move fluidly from a child's imagination to an adult's perspective, but Beaumont continues to takes inventory of a life in the fashion of a devoted collector. In "When I Am in the Kitchen," Beaumont writes "Oh the past is too much with me in the kitchen, / where I open the vintage metal recipe box, / robin's egg blue in its interior, to uncover / the card for Waffles, writ in my father's hand / reaching out from the grave to guide me. ..." Reflective poems are offset with wordplay riffs, a séance transcript, and even a Magic 8 Ball conversation channeling Sylvia Plath. As Rigoberto González notes, "[Beaumont's poetry] is both art and performance, 'no circumstance is ordinary.'"


This book review originally appeared in American Poets.

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