Reviews

What the Living Do: Poems, by Marie Howe

divineauthor's review

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challenging dark emotional reflective medium-paced

3.5

usually not that picky but some poems hit me some poems didn’t!

horseknickers's review against another edition

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4.0

Marie Howe was one of my poetry teachers in college. This collection of poems centers mostly around her brother, who died of AIDS complications.

miztrebor's review against another edition

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5.0

I'm just going to make this short. This is one of my all-time favorite books of poetry. This was my second time reading it and it was just as amazing this time through. I hope I can one day get my poetry to be as powerful as Howe's

jennifer1001's review

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dark emotional reflective sad slow-paced

4.75

oumaima's review

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hopeful inspiring sad medium-paced

5.0

lulujoanis's review

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3.0

First half was breathtaking, but the second half (up to the last two poems) was marked by a severe drop in quality and coherence, in my opinion. Ended on a solid note though

anneliehyatt's review against another edition

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5.0

This is one of the most consistently good poetry collections I've ever read. We follow Marie Howe from childhood to middle age, focusing on the waning life and then death of her brother John. Howe is a master of language and her poems are simultaneously heartbreaking and beautiful.

merrybelletrist's review

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5.0

Second book of modern confessional poems. I liked these much better than Sharon Olds. I can't explain exactly why but it spoke more to me. I'm not even sure what I mean by that but I feel more satisfied after reading these than I did Ms. Olds yesterday.

I'm definitely looking into more of Ms. Lowe's poems.

andizor's review

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5.0

Probably the best collection of poetry I've ever read.

ahsimlibrarian's review

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4.0

This collection of poetry is largely an elegy to the author's brother who died of AIDS. This poem....which I first read in Will Schwalbe's BOOKS FOR LIVING...is simply poignant.

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My Dead Friends

by Marie Howe


I have begun,
when I'm weary and can't decide an answer to a bewildering question

to ask my dead friends for their opinion
and the answer is often immediate and clear.

Should I take the job? Move to the city? Should I try to conceive a child
in my middle age?

They stand in unison shaking their heads and smiling—whatever leads
to joy, they always answer,

to more life and less worry. I look into the vase where Billy's ashes were —
it's green in there, a green vase,

and I ask Billy if I should return the difficult phone call, and he says, yes.
Billy's already gone through the frightening door,

whatever he says I'll do.