Woman Without Umbrella
With a voice rooted in a lush, immediate present, Victoria Redel explores the necessity to live and love deeply in her third collection of poems, Woman Without Umbrella. With a fearless and insistent engagement in language, Redel leads us, unprotected, through landscapes urban and domestic, contemplative and erotic, as she navigates the self and the world, from love to disaster to “a calm easy everyday” and back to love again. “Could we bear to look at one another // and know how full the heart has been,” she asks of a new lover, declaring, “If my love burns let the wick be.”
Throughout the collection, we encounter the “woman without umbrella,” as if viewing a painterly sequence, worlds in which mind and body lean and ache toward pleasure, “I’m just learning desire makes us sometimes lovely. Always idiotes.” We glimpse the poet as mother and daughter, friend and lover, keen observer and fervent participant. In this stunning and witty celebration of mid-life, Redel reminds us that even though “We are each pieced of sadness,” we must continue to love bravely and live deeply—“This morning we think we couldn’t be happier. That’s courage. We’ve thought that before.”
“Flame, Sweetheart,” from Woman Without Umbrella:
The dog parades through the yard dragging maple limbs. We envy her purpose. Here, again, the ending. Nights, hardly. What's left to say. Or, in a rush too much, damage fast, old damage, old grievancewe cannot bear turning from. Your face, angular, set against me. Sulphur and mercury, a marriage. If my love burns let the wick be. If love is porous I will be water. Tell me again how we found each other on a dance floor on a cul de sac of delight. Flame and flicker and. Curve of the footpath up to the deck. The dog lifting her nose, tracking scents. Weeds that multiply in a week.