The Book of Seventy

In this passionate, thoughtful collection, Ostriker approaches aging, politics, myth, and sensuality. With wisdom, she lyrically questions the world and the death and beauty that are a part of it. Demeter, Persephone, Gaia, Kali, NPR, and "the Surgeon" inhabit these poems and illuminate the difficult choices one makes along the course of a lifetime. In Ostriker's poems, desire is medicine for the fear of death, and honest directness is political. Jean Valentine writes that "The Book of Seventy will speak to everyone: Alicia Ostriker's honest voice, her wisdom, her gutsiness; her scholarly, longing mind; her knowing body;

. . . and from the first page to the last, her long-recognized courage in facing down—even welcoming—just about everything." With clear sadness and joy, Ostriker writes in "Demeter to Persephone":

you stared at me without love in your large eyes
that were filled with black sex and white powder

but this is what I expected and when I embraced you
Your firm little breasts against my amplitude

Get in the car I said
and then it was spring

This book review originally appeared in American Poets.