Ontario Review Press, Hardcover, 9780865380851, 91pp.
Publication Date: October 1, 1996
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Tenderness, her eighth volume, is a generous selection of fifty-seven poems written during the past eight years. Most of them have been previously published in literary journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, Boulevard, Gettysburg Review, The New Yorker, and TriQuarterly. The poems gathered here range from the lyric to the narrative and satiric, from a glimpse into childhood ("O Crayola!") to a woman's recollections of her adolescent experiences with men ("Sexy" and "Flirtation, July 1953"), from an epiphany in a supermarket ("Tenderness") to sardonic reflections on an American obsession ("$") and a chilling dramatic monologue by a convicted sex offender ("Like Walking to the Drug Store, When I Get Out"). Joyce Carol Oates is at the height of her powers here.