Archive for February, 2011

A Parable of Women: Poems

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

It is my pleasure to post a book review by Janet McCann for A Parable of Women: Poems written by my good friend, Philip C. Kolin.  (The review originally appeared in the Spring 2010 issue.)


—reviewed by Janet McCann

A Parable of Women is an appealing chapbook on several levels. Between its covers pass an array of women, biblical and contemporary, holy and unholy, healthy and damaged, relatives and saints, at odd points in their lives. Just the gallery of them in their variety is enticing–Magdalen is placed  next to Edith, a lonely visionary spinster; a mystery woman with a sibylline invitation is  followed by Hagar. The poems are short and direct, but layered too–and the arrangement of these famous and unknown women adds another layer of meaning, allowing the poems to comment on one another and on the notion of womanhood in the Bible and in ordinary life.

The author, Philip Kolin, is Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, and this is his fourth poetry book; his previous collection is Deep Wonder (Grey Owl Press, 2000)  . He also publishes books of scholarship on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and other literary figures, and he has also edited poetry anthologies and scholarly journals.

The cover of A Parable of Women is an appropriate and teasing painting –Peter Paul Rubens’ The Holy Women at the Sepulchre (painted about 1614). It is an intriguing choice because while the scene is traditional, Rubens’ women are each very distinctive–especially the lady in bright red at the observer’s left, who is probably Mary Magdalen. Even angels on the right who confront the women have visible personalities. Kolin’s women are all deftly sketched individuals too, and each has her place in his overall picture.

These poems have a strong defined voice to them. (more…)


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