You've Just Been Told (New York: W. W. Norton,
Kneeling in the Big City (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992)
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'"In these poems, Macklin explores what she calls 'grammars of
attention,' presenting her own rules of usage and then, disarmingly,
revising them. In a poem about a difficult father, entitled 'Almost,' her
multiple variations on this apparently generic word--'See? I'm almost /
with you again. / I'm almost angry / with you again'--reveal the central
conviction of her work: that even an unprepossessing adverb carries an
- The New Yorker.
"Elizabeth Macklin's You've Just Been Told demands that readers hold
multiple ideas in their heads, but she is gracious enough to raise
questions that generate enough interest for them to willingly do so. It is
demanding to work to read, and, in the end, the ambiguities and questions
read the reader..."
Part-Time Postmodernist (Summer 2000).
"Around her poetry Elizabeth Macklin uses grammar as a scaffolding of
detachment. She builds precarious platforms that enable her to see her
past and her family and to sort through the chaotic pain of memory: to
examine the deceptive facets of truth. These poems parse life's sentences.
Tension arises from how Macklin tests grammar's ability, both as metaphor
and as the raw material of language, to enclose her oblique and urgent
questions... Macklin writes: 'No, we never liked our grammar / but we
liked the stories.' In You've Just Been Told, the scaffolding finally
falls away, revealing poems of abrupt perception and rigorous
- Deborah Weisgall, New York Times.
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