Written by Sandra Graff
Published by Finishing Line Press
Review by Meredith Allard
I was asked in an interview once how I accounted for the quality of The Copperfield Review. I said I didn’t have any secret formula. We’re lucky enough to have talented writers send their work our way. I publish what I like, and, as it happens, often authors who have been published in Copperfield go on to greater success.
In This Big Dress, a poetry chapbook soon to be published by Finishing Line Press, Sandra Graff has found her greater success. Copperfield published Graff’s poem “Balloon” in the Winter 2011 edition, and I was immediately drawn to Graff’s descriptive lyricism as she described the world of the painting by Grandma Moses by the same name. “Balloon” is included in the collection in This Big Dress. Also in this collection is the poem “Sugaring,” which was also inspired by a Grandma Moses painting.
Graff does what every poet should do—she captures the extraordinary in ordinary moments. In “On the Table” Graff describes a still life in words. In “Christmas Eve Party,” normal things in winter become the stuff of imagination.
The poem I most related to was “A Poet Reads Her Work.” As a writer myself, I understood the poet’s awkwardness as she left her comfort zone, her work desk, to read in front of an audience. My favorite poem in this collection is “You Don’t Know” about the extra weight around a woman’s middle and how others (always women, as Graff points out) ask about the baby when the baby was born 10 years before.
This is a thin volume, but each poem is a treasure and Graff leaves a gem on every page. Lovers of thoughtful, observant free verse will enjoy This Big Dress.
Meredith Allard is the Executive Editor of The Copperfield Review.