March 5, 2009

Review by Ted Gilley

by Niki Nymark

Cherry Pie Press
P.O. Box 155
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
ISBN 978-0-9748468-7-3
2008, $10.00

In A Stranger Here Myself, Niki Nymark endeavors to convince us, as poets will, that life is a serious business, and while the reader may enjoy her judicious (but hardly original) splashes of salty, pleasurable reference to love and laughter, with their light seasoning of motherly “wisdom,” it’s the more serious poems that linger in the heart, and bring the lasting pleasure.

The first, brief section, chiefly love lyrics, is more soft than tender. These are followed by a middle range of longer poems largely concerned with family history and Nymark’s Jewish heritage. The volume closes with a return to the lyric form that takes us, in poems such as “I Regret Nothing” and “Not What I Signed Up For,” out the back door and into the moonlight, secure in the knowledge that the author is okay with life, but feels a little rueful. This is the poet, coasting. What she signed up for was “a life collecting/ocean glass and wisdom” and not the one she’s stuck with, in which she’s not as smart or as tall as she’d like to be.

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