"... All three of the writers treated here are women who have lived the writing life and lived it widely, with large, questioning, furious hearts. Like millions of women writers around the globe, Margo Berdeshevsky views the world through her female consciousness as it intersects with the political and cultural upheavals of our time. In the book’s first section, “On Frailty,” she establishes femaleness as the ground of her speech: “Let the protector of truth come,” she writes, “down from her mythic hill, battered cloche and staff to / pierce the ground so swollen with story.”
But the image of the female descending to earth isn’t a mythic allusion used in the cause of self-aggrandizement or to inflate the female sphere. Instead, Berdeshevsky suggests that the world “as it is” is a body of mythic proportion and power. To make the point that we live in the spiritual and material worlds simultaneously—why anyway do we concede to the convention that they are separate?—she imagines that “Rapunzel’s hair goes gray.” Over and over, godlike figures appear and are similarly debunked. It’s as though Berdeshevsky wants to convince herself and us that we, not gods, are responsible for the breakage around us.
Her best-rendered and most ambitious poem is “Best Love and Goodbye,” ten pages that describe, mediate, and lament war, that staple...
...In this age of war piled on war, I applaud Berdeshevsky for featuring Siegfried Sassoon’s deceptively offhand observation: “does it matter…losing your legs?” That quote burns a hole in the page. So does Berdeshevsky’s voice in this poem.
"Who does not like heros, come. The desert’s stiffening. The weary camels under their trillion stars. I will not weep when I remember Zion. I will not stack pebbles."
In other poems too she is cautionary, bluntly factual in the best way, while sounding convincingly, eloquently ecstatic.
"I fish with these hands, with this soul.
Wrap me in the odor of bees."
.....(Marie)Ponsot is accurate when she writes that Berdeshevsky’s “lines of elation are not free of the knowledge of suffering, just as her lines of suffering are not free of knowledge of elation.” That statement is a high compliment, and I second it. ... "