Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds, poems by Eleanor Lerman (Sarabande)

Lerman's last book, The Mystery of Meteors (Sarabande), was one of the best books of poetry of 2001. She has followed up with Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds, evermore rueful, perturbed, and unexpectedly pleased in tone. Her voice always sounds as if she has someone particular in mind to address, as if she is, from the outset, assured of being heard by someone close at hand. Lerman speaks to a large world that has disappointed her, yet a culture still sufficiently juiced to deserve her attention. Often, she deflates herself to match a diminished world: "Soon I'll be / marching to the luncheonette with the other angry / elderly, where I will munch my cheese sandwich and / foment plans to vote everybody out" ("Starina"). Lerman published two controversial books of poetry in the early 70s, then went dark poetry-wise for 25 years until her first book from Sarabande. The Mystery of Meteors won the 2006 Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry.