Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound (Paperback)
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If you've been combing the bookshops for a new collection of poetry that's likely to stimulate the intellect, fine-tune the senses, and simultaneously break the heart, Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound is the volume you're after. Here, the gifted poet Yvonne Zipter exhibits an astonishing vocabulary, offering insights that perhaps we never realized we'd missed. One stunning example: in an elegiac poem for her beloved dog, she recalls the "sweet slenderness of that languorous / lick of calcium, like an ivory flute." Another: an ekphrastic take on discarded pencils, noting "how quick they are to deny their own musings"-a notion which suggests that virtually all writers and readers of poetry will savor this book.-Marilyn L. Taylor, Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, 2009-2010
Oh, how I resent the constrictions of blurbese in speaking of such a collection, given its abundantly laudable qualities. One is that rarest of features in our time, what the Augustans called Wit (see, e.g., "The Pencils Speak of Impermanence"). There is also Zipter's matchless eye for physical detail, ranging from the natural world to conjugal and even canine love. Supreme, however, is the poet's way with pathos: read, say, the paean to her grandfather Elmer and stay dry-eyed-dare you! Early in the book, the poet complains, "I wish I'd been around when the world was new / and everything needed names," and yet her own naming makes everything new again.
-Sydney Lea, Poet Laureate of Vermont, 2011-2015
How lucky I am to be a "hitchhiker of the spirit" and catch a ride with Yvonne Zipter! These poems touched me deeply with their gorgeous metaphors: turtles "lined up like dinner plates," the poet's "darling wife, a soft dune / beneath our blankets," and a deceased dog's ears that "lay like spent milkweed pods." This is the work of a mature poet who knows the gift of long lasting love whether it be for a beloved spouse or a beloved pet. Passion does not disappear; it merely changes into something even more wonderful as we age and our companions age with us. I am grateful to Yvonne Zipter for reminding me of this with her eloquent, elegant poems.
-Lesléa Newman, I Wish My Father