August 20, 2009

Review by Chad Prevost

by Pamela Uschuk

Wings Press
627 E Guenther
San Antonio, TX, 78210-1134
ISBN 978-0-916727-58-1
2009, 102 pp., $16.00

A lyricist of high order, Pamela Uschuk’s Crazy Love, her fourth full-length collection of award-winning poems, is an essential new collection. Uschuk shifts deftly from the personal to the “public,” or from the small personal vantage to the larger socio-political perspective. Having traveled the world widely as a reader and mentor to others, it comes as no surprise that her poetry offers a broad point of view, effectively illustrating contemporary and international political concerns. It is the combination of Uschuk’s accessibility, clarity, striking imagery (and surprising turns on many of those images), love of nature, regard for global contemporary matters (and how they impact our personal lives) that make her a poet with widespread appeal.

The poems in Crazy Love focus often on the natural world for inspiration and metaphor. Uschuk seems to take sensual pleasure in the particulars of each setting, often ascribing a personal connection with them in a wide variety of contexts. Consider “Climbing Down from Engineer Mountain,” in which the poet, descending “to the trailhead at 10,000 feet / through meadows of insatiable wildflowers” stops and watches her friends “grow smaller / as they walk ahead.” She first imagines herself as an Incan mother leaving her children and hiking down the slope. Then:

I want to reach out and hold my friends awhile
in the blue clarity of this altitude, make them fall
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