review by Douglas Barbour, Edmonton Journal
Carolyn Zonailo is a lyric poet in the best traditional
As the poems of Compendium
show, she writes of love as Sappho did, directly and with understated
grace. Early in the book, she asks, “How to survive/ the
ancients?/How to sing new language?” Yet she writes best,
perhaps, when she writes in the ancient language, but manages
to get it right, as in “A Book of Flowers” and “Compendium”,
two sequences of pure lyric speech.
In the lovely poem, “The
Moon”, the speaker says to her lover, “I want the
moon,/your hand,//the moon's light/illuminating this room.//I
want, as well,/the mystery//of that illumination.” At their
best, Zonailo's poems achieve her desire. In their spare purity,
they lyrically illuminate the mystery of love.
Copyright by Douglas Barbour: www.carolynzonailo.com,