September 7, 2008

Review by Paula Marafino Bernett

Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Wind Publications, 2007
600 Overbrook Drive
Nicholasville, KY 40356
ISBN: 978-1-893239-69-2
103 pp. $15.00

There’s beauty, intelligence and a keen poetic eye at work among the 77 poems collected in Sally Bliumis-Dunn’s Talking Underwater. But too often the poems feel as if they’ve been transmitted from an underwater place (the title poem isn’t happened on until page 85), only infrequently bursting through the surface to present the reader with an accomplished, realized poem.

There’s aspiration too, evident in a wealth of strong phrases, ambitious ideas, and pulses of energy that promise much, but often fail to deliver.

In Section I, the poem “Not Seeing” begins with this strong opening: “…everything is too much/ what it has been/ and not enough/ what it is.” These lines are obliquely supported by the example of the leaf, which does not do them justice. Then comes the line “… I see nothing/ in your hand…” and as I’m struggling to connect this thought to the opening, an inchworm wrapping itself in a leaf enters the poem, arguably very much what it is, and I’m lost.

“Leaving for College” gives us another strong set of lines:

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