Waiting for My Life (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
In Waiting for My Life, her fourth volume of poems, Linda Pastan demonstrates with uncommon artistry the rich literary possibilities of the commonplace—ordinary situations, everyday experiences. Although much of her life is already gone, as are the children she has reared, the speaker in these poems is still waiting for her life to happen. Pastan renders the different aspects of this experience superbly. She writes about sorting through one’s dreams and speculating on their nature, their feel (“Dreams”); about reading to a child (“McGuffey’s First Eclectic Reader”); about the experience, as an adult, of being taught something by a child (“The Vanishing Point”). There are poems about seeing a child off to school, or to a job (“Helen Bids Farewell to Her Daughter Hermione”); about the fear that a child will come to harm; about resentment felt when departed children do not write or call. She writes about returning to familiar surroundings after an absence (“Returning”); about imagining the rest of one’s life (“Widow’s Walk, Somewhere Inland”). The titles of many poems suggest the everyday experiences and situations that occasioned them: “Letter to a Son at Exam Time,” “By the Mailbox,” “Meditation by the Stove,” “Weather Forecast.”
The titles alone do not suggest what Pastan makes of these ordinary...
(The entire section is 1900 words.)
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