August 2, 2008

Review by S. A. Alfonso

by Margaret Atwood

Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10003
ISBN 0-395-75591-3
ISBN 0-395-82521-0 (pbk.)
144 pp., $16.00

Margaret Atwood’s collection of poems, Morning in the Burned House, could just as easily have employed morning’s homonym—mourning—in the title. The overriding theme of loss and some of its sources and consequences—aging, grief, death, depression, and anger—permeate this collection and, in particular, Section IV which is a series of elegiac poems about Atwood’s father.

The collection is divided into five sections. Section I opens with the poem “You Come Back.” This poem seems to look back on a life lived in a blur in which much was missed, as evidenced by the lines:

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