Joan Burstyns fourth book of poems, Treasures Stored for Winter, draws the reader into the authors life from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. At times, personal and political events combineas happens on the evening of June 30, 1982, when the last state legislature rejected the Equal Rights Amendment. At that moment, Burstyn stood with other women around a pond in South Orange, New Jersey, as they raised their voices in protest as remembered in Waiting to Rise Again.
I felt braided
into others lives,
mingled beyond extrication.
We stood together
in darkness, each with candle
flooding the pond with light,
hope filling our eyes
even as the Equal Rights Amendment
was snuffed out,
swiftly as a candles flame
In this collection, Burstyn makes clear that life demands both awe and optimism from us.
My first dip into Treasures Stored for Winter brings up a small package, After Snow; it bursts open with imagery so vibrant and glowing that I cant help myself. I dip again, bring out While the House Sleeps; with its commanding imagery metaphorically I become a matador/swirling my red cloak/before the bull, prodding it with my words.
Joanna Chrzanowski, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor; chair, English Department, Jefferson College