By Marilyn Goldsmith
This is a slight volume but there is nothing slight about the poems within. A rare wisdom and skill are on display here. Marilyn Goldsmith, who passed away on April 6, 2014, was well known in the Long Island, New York poetry community. Her work was published in periodicals and anthologies, and was also recognized by local arts groups with several awards. Her best poems demonstrate why this was so.
I first read There Is a Special Place a couple of years ago and keep waiting to hear that Ms. Goldsmith had been ‘discovered’. Her work is brilliant. One of her poems, “Clothesline Communication” (published in the South Dakota Mail), for example, is quintessential Americana. “Clotheslines tell a story in small towns,” Ms. Goldsmith writes. And so they do. Ms. Goldsmith holds up a mirror to this simple rural ritual and imbues the reflection with insight that is nothing short of genius.
Another poem, “Afghanistan Pantoum” (published in the South Dakota Magazine), sears in four arresting stanzas. It speaks of a boy “Sent from prairies sown with grain” to “Cave-pocked mountainous terrain”, a boy who “Smells death on every passing breeze”. Ms. Goldsmith is a wordsmith, but not the showy sort. There is nothing ostentatious in her work. There is instead an exquisite efficiency in the use of language and a reverent respect for form.
I don’t know if Marilyn Goldsmith will be ‘discovered’ by a large audience. However, I recommend that those who read this review make it a point to discover her on their own.