The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems by Aileen I. Cassinetto


By Lynette G. Esposito

The poems in The Pink House of Purple Yam Preserves & Other Poems by Aileen I. Cassinetto published by Little Dove Books are skillfully presented in a plain language that suggests complex visuals and contexts.

For example, in the poem from “The Enormous River Encircling the World” on page 15, the reader is drawn into visual language that not only makes the ocean smaller but the concept larger
                          In ocean- speak
                          learn the art of camouflage
The title changes the concept of ocean to river, from big to small to encircling the world. The visual is massive.  The reader looks and looks again to see the context of water linguistically defined. What a marvelous poetic skill Cassinetto has in this 102 page soft cover tome.
In The Promise on page 34, Cassinetto (dedicated to Carol and Erik) speaks in clear terms of the beginning pledge on one’s wedding day in two-line stanzas and well-placed punctuation.  The form and punctuation control the poem.
                           Take these symbols of love.
                           to be perfect and unbroken,
                           all ends joining
                           and curved, as though
                            yielding, for love
                           is unconditional, and marriage.
                           a compromise:
                           Golden-spun rings
                           to wear from this day forward,
                          morsels of cake
The two- line form is suggestive of the marriage coupling and of vows taken.

Included in this collection is a section of unfinished prose and a section of selected essays.  Cassinetto brings her amazing control of language to both theses sections..

In the unfinished prose section, there is just one article and it is full of description as the narrator travels to a wedding. Many suggestions are made about the quality of a woman’s life. After describing the lavish wedding and the sacrifices of both rich and poor, Cassinetto comments.
                                This is also a country where one in every 400 women
                                worked as a prostitute. Most will never live to be a bride.
Cassinetto has used her skill to draw both large and small experiences with referential contexts successfully.  The rich have weddings; the poor sell their blood.
In the selected essays section, Cassinetto provides several essays intermixed with poetry.   In the essay, The Color of Kalamunding, she starts with THERE IS NO GENTLENESS in the way I pick a fruit. The discussion becomes of lemonade, grandmothers and perfection. The essay is interesting and makes a strong point at the end of how we judge ourselves as she addresses the reader.
                               You must have surmised who I am by now. Not quite
                                lime, not quite orange.  In the world of fruits, and flowers,
                                I am excessively flawed.  Such is my myth.
I ask myself do I like this mixture of poetry, prose and essays in one book.  I find it a little unfocused and fragmented while at the same time enjoying the high quality of the writing.


Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.  Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review, Bindweed Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, That Literary Review, The Remembered Arts Journal, and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences.  She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.

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