In 1988, at the age of fifty, Diana Wakoski selected the poems in Emerald Ice from her first sixteen books of poetry. Here, returned to print at last, are all the famous (and infamous) lyrics, series, and narratives that established Wakoski as a mythologizer of sex and self, a fierce free-verse imagist, and one of the most important and controversial poets to come out of California in the 1960s.
About these poems, Wakoski writes: "My themes are loss, justice, truth, transformation, the duality of the world, the possibilities of magic, and the creation of beauty out of ugliness. My language is dramatic, oral, and as American as I can make it. I am impatient with stupidity, bureaucracy, and organizations. Poetry, for me, is the supreme art of the individual using language to show how special, different, and wonderful his perceptions are. With verve and finesse. With discursive precision. And with utter contempt for pettiness of imagination or spirit."
Emerald Ice is a contemporary classic, the essential poems of a uniquely American female sensibility.
This is my favorite collection from wild woman Wakoski because of its combinations of elements and its dark humor. Music is infused throughout the poems, with Beethoven presented as an angry father figure. The father motif is echoed and universalized in poems about George Washington who was "dull or hard to talk to," and of course THAT isn't classical." The King of Spain symbolizes the mysterious lover, a kind of Melrose-Place man who is ever the dream but never there to change the furnace filters when you need him to. A bawdy, smart and sassy collection with occasional twists of poignance that will wring your heart.