Alison Stine,
Lot of My Sister
(Kent State University Press, 2001)

I remember "little treasure chest" books from my childhood. The very name of the series conjured up the delights one might find inside. The covers were shiny and new and smooth, and were a metaphor for the gift of reading. The size indicated that it would not take long to find the jewels within. Alison Stine's Lot of My Sister is much the same sort of book.

A slender chapbook, it is clothed in a cover that is a delight to touch and not so brilliantly colored that one will expect exlosions within its covers. This is a book of poetry, after all, and one comes to it expecting a different kind of experience.

By any standard, this is a lovely book of poetry, but it most touching when Stine describes the special sounds of being deaf. When she touches on this aspect of her own life, the poems become close and personal. As she says, they "come back to me as music."

Consider this, from "Fields Beyond Fields": " hand memorized / the closed mouths of lockers...."

This slim volume is also full of moments when we share other bits of humanity with the author, "...the swallow of our morning cups," and the image of a cancer survivor, "eyelashes like tea leaves / in her morning cup?"

Lot of My Sister is a little books that offers twenty-five pages for twenty-five moments of respite -- moments that anyone can "work in" to their schedule and so enrich their lives. I could have used twenty-five more delectible pages, and twenty-five more memorable moments.

[ by Melissa Kowalewski ]
Rambles: 23 February 2002

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