NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
DONNA BIFFAR: KISS ME COLD
Cherry Pie Press
28 Glen Ridge Drive
Glen Carbon
IL 62034-2905
USA
ISBN 0 9748468 3 X
$10

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DONNA BIFFAR: KISS ME COLD

KISS ME COLD is a collection that suggests an exploration of the anatomy of an affair but the collection as a whole is so much more than that. Perspectives employed in the collection remind this reader of the shifting style of narration by George Eliot: appraising subjects from one angle and then from another, and yet another again. The continual focal shift allows for a great subtlety in expression, with many lines lingering in aftertaste. From the animalistic impulses of WHEN CONVERSATION THINS,

	where animals become us
Biffar infuses these impulses with a tinge of guilt like as she simultaneously stands away for a take on what is going on from within the viewing space of the participant;
	It's what beasts do 
	thinning
	when they cannot eat each other.
	We want to taste what keeps us here.
Biffar keeps that sense of taste through the collection, as in A WARNING SONNET, where the reader can almost relish the knowledge that;
	there is poetry in that taste
	that empty space at the vine.
In this poem, Biffar seems to try and explore as fully as she can all dimensions of a moment, or even a lack of moment, through the expression of the senses.

Many poems reflect an examination of want, as everyday a human experience as any but it is Biffar's unique dissection of want in this collection that stands out as in MAY BE LOVE SONNET

	but love
	may be a long walk. The arm of the pine
	is whittled to a dangerous point.
	A stake through the heart. There,
	Love. Maybe like that.
The sharpness of the words at the line endings build to lift the poem's close away from what could have been a mundane walk into the realm of a dangerous statement of intent.

Biffar captures a decaying sense of love-not-quite-right too. The whole collection might be seen to catalogue an affair that may never have happened. Indeed it could be read as an affair with affairs, and Biffar's striving towards expressing moments as frozen as they are captured on the page as in YEARS FROM NOW:

	as an axe shaped to our family's hands,
	as blue love swimming in the cold dark,
	how a harsh blade on bones of ice
	can split the world above our heads,
	as a pond will split.
As an investigation of the bounds of societal rules versus emotional rules the collection stands up. The resolution lies within the reader's experience and above all KISS ME COLD is a collection of distilled retrospective experience very creatively captured using concrete images of the Mid-West and their people to flesh out the abstracts of the poems.

reviewer: Barbara Smith.