Tales of the Supernatural: Poems by Maura Stanton

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I just read Tales of the Supernatural: Poems by Maura Stanton. Stanton was not a poet that I knew before I started weeding. The use of the painting "The Village of the Mermaids" by Paul Delvaux on the cover caught my eye, and I decided to give her book a chance.

Stanton's poems are not particularly quotable in a snippet sort of way, but they tell interesting stories. As the book title suggests, some of the poems border on the fantastic, such as "Two White Hens," in which a man who is shipwrecked worries about the two chickens he had been transporting; what would the hungry men do if the birds washed ashore? In "Tidal Wave" an older man who immigrated from Ireland to America remembers the young girl friend he lost in a tidal wave. A boy wonders about the hidden world inside a clock in "The Cuckoo Clock"; he wants to go inside the clock.

I particularly liked two poems that dealt with youth and performance art. In "Attendant Lord" a girl playing the part of a man struggles with returning to stage on cue in a play. "The Angry Ballerina" tells about a girl having difficulty with the role of Clara in The Nutcracker; her missteps threaten the ballet. I also really liked "Space," a poem that introduces a mute, wheelchair-bound man who writes science fiction.

You do not have like poetry to enjoy Tales of the Supernatural. You can read the book as very short short stories.

Stanton, Maura. Tales of the Supernatural: Poems. Boston: David R. Godine, 1988. ISBN 087923749x

Posted by Rick Roche

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