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Review: The Skiers, by Jill Bialosky

There are a number of reasons for writing poetry. It could be purely personal and basically autobiographical. It could simply be a love of words and forms. Unless I am greatly mistaken, the poems in this selected volume are primarily those written for the first of the reasons above.

It can be a mistake to always assume that a writer's first person writings are about them but, in this book, that is the inevitable conclusion; Jill Bialosky is telling us of her life and the things, people and incidents that were important to her while she lived it. She does this in a mostly straight-forward way and there is no obscurity standing between the writer and the reader; we can tell what she is writing about and understand what she means.

She does use metaphor but, for me, it almost felt shoe-horned in. It is as if she's got her meaning down, but it's too stark. She feels the need to include metaphor to sugar the pill, if you like, or possibly to make it more poetic. The metaphors do not feel natural to the rhythm of the poetry.

There is one other thing that bothered me when reading this book; I wasn't enjoying it. I don't like to think that there are books that appeal to men and ones that appeal to women, although that is the way nearly everything is marketed to us. I have read books by women poets that I have thoroughly enjoyed, but this wasn't one of them. What she was writing about didn't interest me and neither did her writing. I have this nagging feeling this might have something to do with my gender, so I am not going to dismiss the book, I am, instead, going to pass it on to a female friend and see what she thinks.