The Girl of the Early Race by Deborah Boe

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Deborah Boe
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Book review

Lovers of poetry who remember Deborah Boe s critically acclaimed debut book, Mojave, will wonder why she published no subsequent book until now. As Thomas Simmons of the University of Iowa wrote in his September 6, 1999, review of Mojave on Amazon.com:

Deborah Boe is one of the most under-rated poets in America. I have never understood why [her] first volume, the 1987 Mojave, was not quickly followed by an equally stellar second book. Certainly the three poems of Boe s in the March 1986 issue of Poetry, which are not included in Mojave, themselves merit the release of a second volume. Boe s style has the terseness and out-of-left-field vividness of Louise Gluck s best work, but she has a sharper grip on the immediate situation: her poems of love and abuse against the setting of the desert are as shockingly humane as any I have read. While she has a different kind of lyricism from Marie Howe, the underlying intensity of language is similar: Boe and Howe, at their best, match each other in the extreme aridity of their perceptions, which somehow ironically restore the heart. Hanging Loose Press deserves great credit for bringing out Boe s first book, but the situation reminds one of the inherent injustices of the world of poetry: some deserving poets, like Howe, are prize winners with two books, while other, equally deserving poets (like Boe) go almost unrecognized. But if you find a copy of Mojave, you will find poems you have been looking for for years.


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