Pears, Lake, Sun

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Sandy Solomon has published poems in prestigious journals and magazines such as THE NEW YORKER, THE NEW REPUBLIC, POETRY REVIEW, THE THREEPENNY REVIEW, THE TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, and THE GETTYSBURG REVIEW. PEARS, LAKE, SUN was winner of the 1995 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and published as part of the Pitt Poetry Series edited by Ed Ochester.

In PEARS, LAKE, SUN, Solomon interweaves observations and reflections of the beautiful and the ugly of both the physical and social environment of the twentieth century. The poems portray the narrator’s metaphysical tour of the physical world and her spiritual journey into a land whose beauty is frequently violated and contaminated by human follies. In the title poem “Pears, Lake, Sun,” for instance, the poet paints a still life which calls our attention not so much to the “proximate cause” but to “artifacts” that are “finer than the passing beauty of the world itself.” In “Home Movies,” the narrator describes both the beauty of Yosemite and the atrocities committed by German soldiers during World War II.

PEARS, LAKE, SUN is divided into four parts. In Part I, poems about the narrator’s father interfuse with nature poems; Part II mainly consists of narrative poems which are anecdotal and compassionate; Part III again intermingles nature poems with narrative poems; in Part IV, poems about historical and present events conjure up images of ancient and modern societies, their cruelty as well as their beauty. Solomon’s nature poems are by far the best ones collected in the book. They are replete with images which “without the stamp of happiness,” would not “have stuck so surely all these years.”