Miriam Waddington Mark Abley - Essay

Mark Abley

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Reading The Visitants, I was struck by the absence of something I couldn't exactly place: some quality, some attitude that these 40 poems simply didn't contain. Anger? Sorrow? Bitterness? No, because in a few public lyrics, a few civil elegies, Miriam Waddington does express these dark emotions. What was it, this absence? It took me a while to realize that I was missing all sense of fear, and that The Visitants is a fearless book. Its main preoccupations are death, old age, and solitude—all of which are usually tackled with regret, unease, or the kind of boisterous swagger that seems a poor disguise for fear. But Waddington is undaunted at the prospect of death, and unafraid of direct feeling. She can,...

(The entire section is 643 words.)