Dear Good Naked Morning (Paperback) Review

Dear Good Naked MorningOne of my English professors once told me, "We read in order that we can learn how to live."In Ruth Schwartz's collection of poems titled Dear Good Naked Morning, she teaches us this very lesson.Despite the hardships of life that cause delusions in love and innocence, the world remains a thing to celebrate and love, down to mere fungus and mold.Schwartz draws on the forces and creatures of the world around her to create a powerful collection of poems that tell of love, loss, life cycles, death, and the power of music.She presents these forces in her uses of imagery and metaphor, both of which astounded this newfound fan in their originality and detail.For example, her poem "Sex" reminds the reader of the metaphysical conceits of John Donne, who fascinates us with images of a teardrop that drowns the world and eyes of lovers connected by a necklace.In "Sex," Schwartz compares the sexual act (through the climax) to "the church of pleasure and sorrow" as sex enjoys itself for itself only and is surrounded by broken glass (8).

One of Schwartz's recurring motifs deals with the power of music.Music endures despite the depressions caused by life.Through music, we "seek and find," according to Schwartz (57).Perhaps we find something to believe in; perhaps it's something to love.Maybe it is a reason to live or an understanding of humanity's past.In any case, music becomes a metaphor for life as it endures despite heartache and a metaphor for poetry, which is, after all, music in itself.For thousands of years-from Homer to the present-music lives on as a form of expression of life: who we are, where we've been, and where we're going.In words profound in themselves, Schwartz teaches us, "The music swallows us/...[it] is the making of love" (54).

Throughout the collection, the author/persona appears to be on a search for self- discovery.In observing the world around us, we discover beauty and come closer to grasping the origins of life.While we cannot readily study our own body cells, we can examine the properties of leaves and learn about our own lives.For Schwartz, the world is a powerful, organic, positive place full of connections among people and nature despite the negative experiences and influences that, according to William Blake, cause our fall from our pure psyche, our innocence.This message is best conveyed in "Tangerine," which tells of a flower that evolved from a fragrant, "innocent" piece of creation to a swollen plant with sour seeds, "each one bitter, as we are, and filled with possibility" (23).Life exists as it does without prejudice, bringing pain and joy indiscriminately, and while we suffer from our fall from innocence, we find sources of hope and rejuvenation.Even death inevitably serves to propagate more life.

As Schwartz herself recognizes, the story does not end on page 67 of Dear Good Naked Morning.It is hard to tell where we are going to end up or where the story will end.All we can do is face life head on-the good and the bad-and come to terms with it.Will love be possible?Will the badness only continue?Perhaps if we take Schwartz's life lessons to heart, we understand that life is beautiful, for the beautiful can come out of the dead, the degraded, and the damned.

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Product Description:
Winner of the 2004 Autumn House Poetry Prize selected by Alicia Ostriker, DEAR GOOD NAKED MORNING explores what it is to be a woman in love with the world.

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