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This review is taken from PN Review 157, Volume 30 Number 5, May - June 2004.

MARKING TIME ANNIE FINCH, Calendars (Tupelo Press) $14.95

Calendars is ultimately a book of the Woman without being a book only for women. Finch successfully loosens the grip of such a label by excluding no reader. These poems don't identify themselves as feminist - the mantle is assumed without agenda. Nor do they shout out `Finch' (even `Elegy for My Father' is not intimate in the confessional sense). Take, for example, one of her many hypnotic call and response poems, `The Menstrual Hut':

How can I listen to the moon?
Your blood will listen, like a charm.

I knew a way to feel the sun
as if a statue felt warm eyes.
Even with ruins on the moon,
your blood will listen, every time.


Now I am the one with eyes.
Your blood can listen, every time.

The book's title poem is in four voices - Demeter, Chorus, Persephone, and Hades. Overall, the volume is an accounting, a `calendar' that rebuffs patriarchal Roman and modern methods used to mark the passage of time.

In her acknowledgements, Finch, a librettist as well as poet, mentions that several poems were originally set to music or incorporated into theatre performances (Stefania de Kennessey composed music for some pieces and several poems were used in a poetry puppet performance). I believe Finch's collaborative spirit adds to the preciseness and musicality of her simple lyrics; she opens up a myriad of possibilities for herself and ...


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