How very cool to find a mini-review on my first full-length collection, The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, over at the famous blog, Galatea Resurrects (#26) A Poetry Engagement. Many, many, thanks to Eileen Tabios, poet, author, memoirist, blogger, and all-around wonderful person. She'd written it on July 11, 2016, and I've just now been made aware of it. Below is the mini-review in its entirety~
The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor by Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow
At first, I considered each poem to be a novel--maximalist, as the genre allows, with meticulously-researched details. Reading through Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow's The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor, I felt like I was concurrently reading through Wikipedia as I read the poems. All of this is a compliment--each poem wrought a world that may have been miniature but was complete and believable. Like a doll's house perfect in its replications, down to the tiniest toothpaste tube next to a tiny toothbrush atop a tiny sink in a tiny bathroom. Except that the poems' details are not mundane (even when they are), often schooling you in the marvelous which, after all, is a common job of poems. For example, from "TO THE CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE,"
The Chief Medical Examiner...found in the nest of their expired wombs
a tiny translucent baby or two together,
always the surprise of the finding, as you surprise
to crack open one perfect speckled farm egg, only to behold
two viscous yolk orbs wobbling in the skillet.
The dumbfounded medley of surplus in death
It's that last line in the above excerpt that manifest how Edlow elevates the list of details into poetry: "dumbfounded," this "surplus in death." It results because, these poems are silver, not gold--by which I refer to the last three lines in another poem, "MOB DAD,"
...And lousy men
with limousine-length egos. And gold, and gold only,
because silver you have to rub and rub to keep pretty.One with a "limousine-length ego" settling for "gold only" implies a lack of industriousness that makes one work. Edlow, on the other hand, works the details in her poems like silver, rubbing and rubbing to come up with pretty. These poems are silver-pretty, way more satisfying than inherited (without labor) gold.