Elaine Feinstein

Talking to the Dead

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Opening with a death in winter, this is a tender work of mourning which is wonderfully moving but never dispiriting. Elaine Feinstein uses the remembered words of a much-loved husband – sometimes affectionate, sometimes querulous – to invoke his solid presence; it is the man rather than her grief which is the centre of the book. Many lyrics recall the closeness of their last months together; others confess the ambivalence of a long marriage. Theirs was never an easy relationship, and she is not afraid to register the differences between them. With wry humour, she questions her own life before their meeting, and looks steadily at a future without him. As she imagines that future, she confronts the myths of an afterlife, a belief in God, her debts to other poets and her dependence on friends and children. Always in complete control of rhythm and tone, these beautiful lyrics explore the most intimate thoughts with a clarity and tenacity Ted Hughes once described as 'unique'. It is Elaine Feinstein's most passionate book of poetry.
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26 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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