At The Iowa Review, Nick Ripatrazone provides a brilliant engagement with Sarah Goldstein’s Fables (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2011), and in the process evokes Ingmar Bergman, the Brothers Grimm, James Joyce, and W.B. Yeats, which works for us quite nicely. Especially Bergman.
“Regardless of the genesis of these prose poems and vignettes,” however, writes Ripatrazone, “Goldstein’s vision and approach is wholly new. Her work in this collection is more than translation and transcription: Fables contains poems that whisper tradition but fully stand on their own.”
Ripatrazone also discusses Goldstein’s “contributions to the organic conversation of narrative form,” noting that Fables
might be considered a book of prose poems, but strict definitions only muddle the power of the stories. The works certainly build toward a final line, and yet the profluence of the narrative builds in epigrammatic snippets, crafted with laudable precision. Goldstein opts for the sideways glance, the unfocused focus. What is not told to the reader is enticing: when “dogs of the town lie in a heap and cough, shuddering with every breath,” an entire architecture of apocalypse remains in the silent background. The power of fable, and Fables, has always been folks’ ability to give blurry shapes to concrete fears, to convince the listener that the corners of the supernatural can be flushed with light just as easily as they have been shadowed dark.
Read more about Fables at the official book page. Buy it directly from Tarpaulin Sky Press and save about $6 off the Amazon price.