November 6, 2008

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Bear, by Karen Chase, CavanKerry Press, 2008, 81 pages
By Dan Szczesny dszczesny@hippopress.com

Massachusetts author Karen Chase returns with Bear, her second book of poetry — a smart, funny next step in this new author’s career. The central theme of this volume comes from Chase’s research into a non-fiction book on illegal bear poaching. From ponderings about a bear safety pamphlet to a poem describing her conflict over hunting, the bear poems are fast, witty and clear. But they are not the best poems in the book. Chase’s prose is short, and direct, and she’s at the height of her power with simple concise images, like the canoe trip in “Dusk in the South” where “roots emerge like feet” and “stars unshingle the moon.” It’s poetry the way it’s meant to be — direct, seamless and without pretense. Chase is a fine new author destined for an interesting career. B+