The Bird Catcher

The varied moods and topics in Marie Ponsot’s THE BIRD CATCHER are both a challenge and pleasure to read. Her ability in choosing words that fit, that surprise, and that sometimes shock give rise to the anticipation of wondering what games she will be playing at the end of any poem.

Many of the poems in this sleek volume are about relationships between children, parents, and the necessary and vital moment when a child leaves the parent, although readers find, tucked into the pages one or two allusions to when the youth leaves and the house soon has fresh air and music wafting through it. This poet’s lines and rhythms are subtle and delightful, some somber but mostly of an optimistic mood. A poem entitled “Better” perhaps personifies Marie Ponsot’s view of the world and her place in it. She starts out by suffering through a long wet season where survival seems “on the critical list” and her skin can barely tolerate meager life. In time, however, the sun does shine, and there is a strong positive rebirth which makes the reader want to breathe deeply and check the new blooms out of the window.

THE BIRD CATCHER will please all poetry lovers. There are long and short choices, some are written in the memory of such people as Margaret Fuller, an epic and an ode to her, while others describe the potential destruction that grief can bring about even when gardens enclose and protect. Each is a jewel shining out of images familiar yet newly clothed.