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Persephone

Lyn Lifshin

Publication Year: 2008

Like the mythic Persephone, these poems move between worlds of wild light and onyx darkness. Abducted by Hades, Persephone was kept captive in the underworld until her mother, Demeter, consumed with rage and sorrow, refused to let anything live or bloom. Grudgingly, Hades released her but only after she tasted the pomegranate he offered, a fruit that kept her bound to him for three months of the year forever. These poems move between such ecstatic glimpses of love, sex, family and that underworld of pain, loss and dark coldness between parents and children, siblings, lovers and strangers. The blues and despair in her poems, immediate and powerful as the worlds of any woman who moves from darkness and cold into the green world of rebirth, light and flowers, highlights “the combination of eros, ebullience and triste, or sadness,” a Lifshin trademark.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments

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Contents

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pp. 9-13

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Introduction

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pp. 17-

Persephone is the divine daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. One day, when she was collecting flowers the earth suddenly opened and Hades, god of the underworld, rose up and abducted her. Broken hearted, enraged, and consumed with sorrow, Demeter wandered the earth looking for her daughter. She was so angry she withdrew in loneliness and the earth ceased to bloom...

Part 1. Anonymously Yours: Autobiography

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pp. 19-20

On the Shortest Day of the Year

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pp. 21-

I Have Lost the Sound

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pp. 22-

Sleeping with Lorca

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pp. 23-

You Wonder a Woman Who Doesn’t Seem Quite Like Me

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pp. 24-25

Being Jewish in a Small Town

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pp. 26-27

Christmas Tree

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pp. 28-

The Photographs with My Hair Up

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pp. 29-

Not Writing for Days

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pp. 30-31

When I See Vermeer’s “The Woman Holding A Balance”

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pp. 32-33

Ballet Du Maurais

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pp. 34-35

The Lost Photograph

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pp. 36-37

Lips

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pp. 38-39

Sometimes when I Take the Escalator Deep Underground

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p. 40-40

Part 2. Lovers and Leavers

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pp. 41-42

Sometimes It Was Your Gone Leg

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p. 43-43

Trying to Write the Blue Out of Me

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p. 44-44

Though I Didn’t See It

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p. 45-45

In the Dream of Having Too Much I Have to Do

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p. 46-46

Cape Cod, Still High on Having the Biopsy Negative

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p. 47-47

The Man Who Mostly Lip Reads

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pp. 48-49

The Affair

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pp. 50-51

If You’re a Risk Taker, Moody, Sadistic

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pp. 52-53

When I Was No Longer My Leather Jacket

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pp. 54-55

Park

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pp. 56-58

Part 3. Deserted Rooms: Family

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pp. 59-60

Elephants, The Dark Shiny Bed Smaller than I Remember

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p. 61-61

Vacation

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pp. 62-63

My Sister’s Diaries

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p. 64-64

The Other Fathers

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p. 65-65

August 24, That Other Summer I

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pp. 66-67

Around the Table

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pp. 68-69

The Old Dog

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pp. 70-72

Part 4. Bay of Love and Sorrow: Mother Poems

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pp. 73-74

My Mother Hated the Song of the Whales

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p. 75-75

Another September Letter

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pp. 76-78

Solitaire

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p. 79-79

Asparagus

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pp. 80-81

Locking the Screen Door

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pp. 82-83

In the Middle Drawer

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pp. 84-85

The Gold Dress

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pp. 86-87

Blue Couch

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pp. 88-89

Spoon Night, Crystal Night

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pp. 90-91

Another Ratso Rizzo Dream

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p. 92-92

My Mother’s White Radio

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p. 93-93

My Mother and the Oranges

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pp. 94-95

Wintergreen

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pp. 96-97

My Mother’s Autograph Book

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p. 98-98

Washing Our Hair in Lake Champlain

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p. 99-99

Julys in the Rose Light Room

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pp. 100-102

Part 5. Awaiting Alma

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pp. 103-104

Alma Karmina

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p. 105-105

Alma, Her Eyes Shiny Coal

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pp. 106-107

They Are On Their Way

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p. 108-108

Part 6. Life Leaves Marks: Other Voices

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pp. 109-110

Another Woman Obsessed with Maps

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p. 111-111

The Woman in Love with Maps

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pp. 112-113

One More Woman in Love with Old Maps

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p. 114-114

The Ice Maiden Mummy’s 78TH SOS

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p. 115-115

The Unabomber Dreams of the Ice Maiden Mummy, A Woman in a Flesh Dress Unlike Any Other

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pp. 116-117

The Ice Maiden Mummy’s 234TH SOS

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p. 118-118

When I Bury My Face in the Crimson Velvet

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pp. 119-120

Part 7. A House Built on Water

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pp. 121-122

Behind Colonial Windows

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pp. 123-126

Croton-on-Hudson

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pp. 127-134

Part 8. Mad Girls, Strangers, Women with Wings and Without Wings

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pp. 135-136

Even Before the Pond Freezes Over

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pp. 137-139

She Comes to the River When I Feed the Geese

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pp. 140-141

For Months She Came at Night, a Strange Presence

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pp. 142-143

The Dog Food Heiress

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pp. 144-145

Barbie Remembers Another Life

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p. 146-146

The Mad Girl Remembers How the Record Stuck in Juarez

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pp. 147-148

The Mad Girl Feels the Dark Spread Under the Surface

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pp. 149-150

The Mad Girl Watches Deer Crossing

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p. 151-151

The Mad Girl Wades Thru January

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p. 152-152

The Mad Girl’s Pipes Burst and Split

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p. 153-153

The Mad Girl Thinks She Was in Another Life with the Geese

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p. 154-154

The Mad Girl Makes a Mantra of Something She’s Heard in a Most Unlikely Place

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p. 155-155

When the Mad Girl Feeds the Ducks and Geese Before It’s Light

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pp. 156-158

Part 9. On the Other Side of the Bridge: Poems of Place

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pp. 159-160

Midwest

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p. 161-161

Late November

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p. 162-162

In the One Space That Wasn’t Frozen

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p. 163-163

September Early

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p. 164-164

September, Early

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p. 165-165

Inline Skaters

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p. 166-166

The Seine from the Window, Notre Dame

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p. 167-167

Steepletop

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p. 168-168

On the Afternoon the Geese Come

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p. 169-169

After the Origami of Ice

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p. 170-170

Part 10. Flame Birds

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pp. 171-172

Someone Says They Looked Like Cartwheeling Birds

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p. 173-173

Someone Goes Over Old Love Letter

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pp. 174-175

After September 11

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p. 176-176

After September 11

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p. 177-177

September 24, 2001

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p. 178-178

October 18, 2001

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p. 179-179

In the One Tree of Singing Birds

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p. 180-180

October 30, 2001

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pp. 181-182

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About the Author

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pp. 183-184

Lyn Lifshin has written more than 120 books and edited 4 anthologies of women writers. Her poems have appeared in most poetry and literary magazines in the U.S.A., and her work has been included in virtually every major anthology of recent writing by women. She has...


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093835
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091244
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091243

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: First

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