Cities by Elaine Feinstein
Carcanet Press (ebook), 2010
96 Pages

Poet’s Website

Amazon (UK)

With 60 new poems spanning the world–from Basel to Budapest, Tampico to Tiblisi, New York to Sydney–this collection explores the landscape and history of each destination with vivid expressions charged by memories both fond and once forgotten. From her insightful autobiography, the author encounters friends, colleagues, and strangers in each city who stir up details of a life lived completely. At turns poignant and amusing, this volume will delight literary minds and poets alike.


In late March, birds from the Gambia
White throat warblers, who wintered in
The branches of a feathery acacia
Mandlestam’s goldfinch; pink foot
Geese from the Artic. All
Arrive using the stars, along
Flyways old as Homer and Jeremiah.

Cities is an excellent collection of poems. I’ve never read any of Feinstein’s work before. Not to my knowledge anyway. Cities is a book of travels and a memoir-through-lyrics. I enjoyed all of the different places visited in the collection including places abroad such as Budapest, Tampico and Tiblisi to places closer to home including Leicester and London. This collection explores a wide range of themes and Feinstein does a good job of bringing the past and present to vivid and memorable life. The imagery used works really well. The poems could be memoirs or just poems but they read as recollections of things that actually happened. I was impressed by this collection and want to read more of the poet’s work. My personal favourites were Migrations, Cambridge 1949, Jerusalem, Warsaw 1973 and A Dream Of Prague. I’d highly recommend this excellent collection of poems.




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