Sufficient Emptiness by Marjorie Power

By Lynette G. Esposito
Reading Marjorie Power’s Sufficient Emptiness is like hearing a loud whisper throughout her ninety- four pages of poetry.  The poems appear to begin softly suggesting meaning then crescendo until she is right in your ear telling you this is the way it is.
Sufficient Emptiness, published by Deerbrook Editions of Cumberland, ME, is divided into five sections: Season Tickets, The New Chickens, The Eyes: An Elephant Sequence, Sufficient Emptiness, and Walk Signal. Her poems vary in length and form but the whisper is always there saying pay attention, I am going to tell you something important.
For example, the poem, To Larry, on page nineteen is only five lines but the reader is treated to the intimacy of a treasured relationship.
                      we two
                      wander, white-haired,
                      a heartbeat between us,
                      its pulsing silence our teenaged
The image is clear of two who seem as one.  The form supports the image with its lack of punctuation or any capital letters.  It appears as a quick love note with the complexity of growing old but hovering near them is the passion of youth,
Another poem, that whispers loudly at the end is Dust Motes on page seventy-four.
     We guess at what the moon might hide
     even when she stares roundly
     past a small cloud, a scraggly branch,
     a street disturbance where she wants to cast her glow.
She skillfully has the reader looking both up and down at the same time while suggesting something is hidden and the moon is doing the hiding even when she is shedding light. The seventeen-line poem is written in couplets and three-line stanzas. This gives a successful uneven pacing to the poem and strong end -line breaks, the interior of the poem holds the stanzas and the poem both begins with couplets and ends with a couplet.
The poem explores how different it is when the sun comes out.
     Under the sun we speak
     confidently to those in the room
     and any others who dangle elsewhere,
She suggests subtly the secretive moon by the open actions and free speech during day time. She ends the poem with a couplet reminding the reader how we forget certain things and what happens.
     We forget to keep our eye on dust motes
     that sift out of our talk, into our meaning.  We let drift
      all we can, as if there’s a clear space beyond us
      and they’ve already settled there
      and been vacuumed up.
Depending on how you define dust mote, opens the poem to more than one interpretation.
Power is able to write poems of length as seen in Dust Motes as well as compact small poems.  The poem, White, Falling Rapidly in Clumps, is only five lines but again seems like a loud whisper.
      Snow slips
      from a bare branch—
      red-tipped, ready to bud.
      No time left to process winter’s
      hushed thefts.
When the poem opens, the reader is focused on winter.  When the poem ends, the reader is focused on spring, Power is a skillful controlled writer who leads the reader to water and makes him drink.
Sufficient Emptiness has many themes, images, and poetic forms. The poetry is a pleasure to read and to think about later.
You can find the book here: Sufficient Emptiness
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.

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