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Maxine Tynes

Lawrencetown (M.S.), Pottersfield Press, 1990. 94pp, paper, $9.95, ISBN 0-919001-64-5
Distributed by Pottersfield Press, R.R.#2, Porters Lake, Nova Scotia BOJ 2SO. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by donalee Moulton-Barrett.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Maxine Tynes is a poet whose work comes to life when she reads her poetry. Even her best poetry is better poetry when Tynes brings her voice literally - to the work. Unfortunately, Woman Talking Woman is not her best poetry.

Throughout much of the collection, Tynes touches on her subject matter - feminism, politics, race - but never really explores it. Even the classic Tynes technique of repeating words and phrases, as in song, is weak, almost as if the words were repeated for lack of anything else to say:

for every woman-place entered in
entered in pain
entered without mercy
without wanting
without love
without love

The strongest works in this collection are those poems that deal directly with a close relationship, particularly the death of her mother and the end of a romantic relationship.

I touch your arm
thinking of tonight

and how I'll want you
and how my energy for passion
will be matched by your poor,
road-weary body
and I think of how and where to
bargain for it, and more.

Included with the poetry in Woman Talking Woman are three very short stories that bring a fuller voice to much of what Tynes has to say. As in poetry there is a lyrical flow to the stories, and in most cases, not a great deal of exploration. But the wave of the words, and the brush of the images against the shores of our imagination, bring a peaceful and contented smile.

donalee Moulton-Barrett, Halifax, N.S.
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