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Antarctica
The Poetry of Patti Sirens
ISBN # 0-9650665-7-6, 72 pages, $12.95

More than a playful collection of erotic, irreverent, rebellious poetry--while Antarctica is all of these things--Patti Sirens opens a window to a remarkable inner life of hard-won wisdom. Let her emotionally searing imagery convince you that viewing love and loss with candor and compassion can transform the most formidable frozen wasteland.

This debut volume is a MUST READ for anyone interested in women's studies, or poetry of year 2000.

Reviews
"Edgy and compelling, these poems take us on a trip of twists and curves through Sirens' world, a minefield of raw emotion and surprises, jagged with pain, wry humor, intense sensuality, and sensitive responses to beauty, honed by a keen intelligence. A trip well worth taking."
Maude Meehan, author
Washing the Stones: Selected Poetry 1975-1995

Antarctica: Poetry by Patti Sirens
A Book Review by Joanne James

Patti Sirens' new book of poetry, Antarctica, is a test of faith, a one-night stand, an unrelenting vision of the world you thought you knew. Here, the world is not a familiar, mundane, surface. In the title poem, "Antarctica" she demands, "look me in the eye when I'm speaking to you." Once you pick up this book, you wont' dare look away.

Whether you've lived in Santa Cruz a few months or a lifetime, Sirens' poetry will challenge you to see this city through new eyes,the eyes of a Rebel Angel: "highway one veers away from the sea/snaking valley and river's jugular/church chimes charm the dreamer/save the sailor/drown the savior" ("Barn Swallows").
The Rebel Angel lineage of poetry descends from an unbroken line of risk-takers and poet-prophets such as William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, Alice Notley, and Eileen Myles. This is the poetry I hunger for. This is necessary magic.

In Sirens' poem "Odyssea," we are given what we need to know "how to talk heron and crow and coax the wildflowers from the ground they will listen to your stories and love you for your silences/they will remind you that you are wild and holy." There is the possibility of communication with what is natural and wise in the world(s) surrounding this one. I found that "Antarctica" is a metaphor for both the earth and the inner self; all those vast uninhabitable places where we find ourselves lost and without sustenance. We also long for these places as they force us to meet a deeper truth. This is wilderness that has its own presence and powers and is indifferent to our individual survival.

Sometimes there are no answers; only memories, regrets or sex and dreams and desire. This is honest poetry; no promises of redemption unless you are in the process of reinventing the world. "In the photo we are smiling but really our hearts were tearing apart like when you slice open a piece of fruit and you pull the halves away from the pit how what is whole suddenly finds something hollow in itself" (Dead Wallendas").

At the same time, Sirens is wryly humorous in poems such as, "The Telephone Rang," "Courage," and "All There Is." This collection finds a vital balance that will appeal to poetry lovers, lovers of language, and new converts. And if you've heard Patti Sirens' performance of her work, you'll be glad, as I was, to find a full collection of poetry that carries its power on the page as well as one the stage.

"Amelia's Last Flight" is an invocation and a prophecy, "I believed there were angels/creatures of light who came from the stars/lived in the wet grass/crawled through the night grass/seeing with feral eyes/who were proud in god's eyes and maybe god's themselves." With the repetition if "grass grass": and "eyes, eyes" it is as if an ancient chant is summoning strength for the journey. This is the way to enter the next millennium. Are you going to creep into the future? Or are you going to put on your black boots and create revolution? Patti Sirens' book, Antarctica, is the initiation you've been waiting for.
© 1998 Joanne James
Joanne James is a local poet and student of creative writing and philosophy through the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
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Available online from amazon.com or use the old fashioned way: Send use a check or M.O. for $13.95 plus 4.50 postage to BBPublications, P O Box 4658, Santa Rosa, CA 95402

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