Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1998
Leslie Adrienne Miller’s poems are tickets to some fascinating places– scary, fantastic places like Indonesia and Berlin and Zanesville, Ohio; the riot-torn country of adolescence; the tough villages of family and friendship; and, again and again, the dark, trackless, lovely forests of desire. Writing utterly from within her own skin, from her specific heart housed in her exact, particular bones, she’s a poet also and absolutely of the larger world, of foreign places, foreign tongues, and she writes about the other as intimately as if she shared its blood.” —Lon Otto
“The central figure of this glittering set of poems is a heroine in the grand manner. Like Colette or Jean Rhys, in their literary incarnations, it is not that she is ahead of her time, it is that she is so clearly part of her time. The narrator of this book is displaced, solitary, and full of an ironic self awareness. She is, as well, a Western woman seen in the larger context of the non-Western world. This is a book of confrontation, the abrasions of the self against itself, the narrator against the world around her. This is both a woman’s book and a womanly book, a book in which Miller is always engaging, eloquent, smart, and honest. —Lynn Emanuel
Leslie Adrienne Miller’s meditative narratives are unfailingly thoughtful in their inclusions. “Babes in Toyland” considers the meanings of female beauty. The speaker watches a contemporary rock band and interprets the semiotics of the lead singer. . . . The poem isn’t afraid to think, a quality I seldom find in verse, and one I sorely miss. The music intensifies toward the closure, which is nothing short of apocalyptic: “. . . we are so near the end / that beauty is a mere scrap, a shard / of jewel which can clash and punish. . . .” The personal broadens to include the cultural, a move that expands the poem beyond the claustrophobia of private life into a larger, public saying. —Alice Fulton
Leslie Adrienne Miller’s unflinching new book, her best yet, shows her to be a poet of rich abandon, of sensuous longing and headlong desire for the other turned back against the self, with regret, with fury. I am moved by these poems of independence infused with a dark self-knowledge, with a wry wisdom and tough vulnerability, with a hopefulness she cannot forget, will not forego. These poems enlarge experience and engage life.