The New York Resident reviews Archeology of Desire

Archeology of Desire Miriam Sagan. Red Hen (CDC, dist.), $8.95 (56p) ISBN 1-888996-32-3

Newly published poetry, which is the focus of this week’s column, rarely receives the level of attention it deserves. The following mix runs form the sublime to the ridiculous.


Born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey, poet Miriam Sagan now resides in Sante Fe, Nm. The metro area’s loss is clearly the Land of Enchantment’s gain, as Sagan’s luminous poetry collection “Archeology of Desire” (Red Hen Press, $8.95, 55 pages) offers a touching journey into a world of private loneliness and rue within a greater universe of beauty and chaos.

Sagan’s introspective visions beautifully mirror deep emotions of wide spectrum. “The widow’s Reading” finds an American woman alone in Seoul, intently reading a book on female circumcision while trying not to dwell on how she is lost amid two foreign cultures: the Korean experience around her and her new state of widow hood. “The Jewish Cemetery at Las Vegas, New Mexico” offers deft irony in noting that the resting place of German Jewish refugees lies at the foot of the Sangre de Cristos (Blood of Christ Mountains).

Sagan’s poetry is a rich mix of mind frames and experiences ranging from the traditions of Europe to Zen Philosophy to the erudite charms of San Francisco to the natural beauty of New Mexico. The blend is sublime, and the resulting poetry inspires gentle awe.

— Phil Hall

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