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Let It Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems

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In this retrospective collection, Sheryl St. Germain sings of her New Orleans upbringing, the Cajun/Creole culture, and the struggles of being a woman in a decaying culture.


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In this retrospective collection, Sheryl St. Germain sings of her New Orleans upbringing, the Cajun/Creole culture, and the struggles of being a woman in a decaying culture.

30 review for Let It Be a Dark Roux: New and Selected Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I picked up this collection after reading the author's wonderful essay-memoir Swamp Songs. Many of the poems here cover the same themes found in that work, even using the same imagery, but I didn't mind at all revisiting them in a different form. And while for the most part, I preferred the prose of Swamp Songs, there was a poem about the too-fertile wisteria in her mother's backyard that I liked even better than its corresponding essay. When I reviewed Swamp Songs about 3 weeks ago, I neglected I picked up this collection after reading the author's wonderful essay-memoir Swamp Songs. Many of the poems here cover the same themes found in that work, even using the same imagery, but I didn't mind at all revisiting them in a different form. And while for the most part, I preferred the prose of Swamp Songs, there was a poem about the too-fertile wisteria in her mother's backyard that I liked even better than its corresponding essay. When I reviewed Swamp Songs about 3 weeks ago, I neglected to mentioned how big of a part food plays in it, including a wonderful description of how to make gumbo. Of course, I know how to make gumbo, but her description gave me such a craving for it that I've eaten it 3 times in 3 different restaurants since. The 'roux' in the title of this collection ends up not only referring to the base/thickener for this dish, but for the 'base' (foundation/home/family etc) that makes us who we are. Though this area has made her who she is, she doesn't just write of the New Orleans area. She's lived in the Midwest for most of her adult life and there are poems addressed to that experience as well, including a great one about a snowstorm.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    Intense and sensual collection of selected and new poems from a Pittsburgh-based writer who draws heavily on her formative years in Louisiana. Earthy and accessible.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jean Lamberty

    Interesting collection of St. Germain's poems that spans her career. She is moving towards prose poems. Interesting collection of St. Germain's poems that spans her career. She is moving towards prose poems.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carolyne Mistake

    Dark and horrific and sexy. Natural and cruel and empathetic. Poems of grit and longing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Octavio Solis

    A collection well over ten years old now, but the poems of my friend Sheryl still carry a live charge, a strong sexual charge in every line, even as she deals with grief, trouble, loss and betrayal. She understands the erotic charge of death and dives deep into her body to learn it. She's a body poet, embracing her own first, then the world's. She evokes her New Orleans in many of these poems and weds that city's luminous air with the classical Medusa, but she also finds lyric significance in th A collection well over ten years old now, but the poems of my friend Sheryl still carry a live charge, a strong sexual charge in every line, even as she deals with grief, trouble, loss and betrayal. She understands the erotic charge of death and dives deep into her body to learn it. She's a body poet, embracing her own first, then the world's. She evokes her New Orleans in many of these poems and weds that city's luminous air with the classical Medusa, but she also finds lyric significance in the snowfall of her new adopted East Coast home. Completely unafraid of the truth of her life, sharing the vagaries of love, marriage and motherhood with painful honesty. Her sensuous delight in the making of her roux calls up the hands of her mother and grandmother before her, but that delight elicits its opposite, its homonym, rue. Wondrous, easy language with so much life beneath.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Lada

    Dark, but not by the lack-of-light definition. Bean-skin dark. Sun-hyde dark. The dark, mushroom taste of a man. The dark one finds in old, clotted blood. The dark one finds in a muck-mangled lake. Dirty-nail dark. Gritty with longing and every variety of sweat, this book of poetry dips into selected poems, ghosts of former books, and rises in the end with poems, fresh with ash on their shoulders.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tim Genetti

    Edward Hirsch

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    I knew the author very well back in the 70's and 80's, so these selections bring back a lot of fond memories of a very turbulent time in my (and probably most of my generation's) life. Beautiful, yet often painful to read, Sheryl doesn't touch your heart, she gives it a pinch. Magnificent portraits of familial relationships, surreal Louisiana customs, and life in general. I knew the author very well back in the 70's and 80's, so these selections bring back a lot of fond memories of a very turbulent time in my (and probably most of my generation's) life. Beautiful, yet often painful to read, Sheryl doesn't touch your heart, she gives it a pinch. Magnificent portraits of familial relationships, surreal Louisiana customs, and life in general.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sheri Fresonke Harper

    Let it Be a Dark Roux features poems set in Louisiana with a rich vocabulary of place, culture, and the poet's life growing up in an area noted for sex, drugs, partying. The family connections are woven in and around what Louisiana is like. They are very interesting personal poems with hints of sensuality. Let it Be a Dark Roux features poems set in Louisiana with a rich vocabulary of place, culture, and the poet's life growing up in an area noted for sex, drugs, partying. The family connections are woven in and around what Louisiana is like. They are very interesting personal poems with hints of sensuality.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Pele Thorncastle

    Amazing poetry, brilliant author

  11. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Richards

    Raunchy, heartbreaking, funny. I'm in love with this woman. Raunchy, heartbreaking, funny. I'm in love with this woman.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    read three sections: Going Home, Making Bread at Midnight, & How Heavy the Breath of God. Some amazing poems. My favorite section was How Heavy the Breath of God.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon

  15. 4 out of 5

    Danielle DeTiberus

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Scot August

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  18. 5 out of 5

    morgan :,)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Denise

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mike Good

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terry Everett

  22. 5 out of 5

    William

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lori Stephens

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dana

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laure-anne

  26. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Woods

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robin Kemp

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