Debriefing the Rose by Mary di Michele
Finalist for The A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry in 1998
In Debriefing the Rose, di Michele calls forth a Sappho who will not be silenced — not by centuries, censorship, calumny, nor the burning of her books. This is poetry as time machine; it travels through years and “langscape” to create a place where Quebec’s Lachine rapids run through ancient China, a place haunted by such figures as Wand Wei, Hart Crane, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Baudelaire.
These poems are conversations in which the dead speak with more authority than the living. Throughout, the image of the rose recurs — white, just-picked, and offered to us in Sappho’s open hand.
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