The Poets' Wives
A NoveleBook - 2014
What does it mean to be a poet's wife, his muse and lover, there for the heights of inspiration and the quotidian of the day-to-day, and often times, too, the drudgery of being in a supporting role to "the great man." In this exquisite and sensitive new novel, David Park explores this complicated relationship, through three well-crafted characters, two based on actual women: Catherine Blake, wife of William Blake, 19th-century poet, painter, and engraver, and Nadezhda Mandelstam, wife of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, who died in a transit camp en route to Siberia during Stalin's rule. Park has also fashioned a fictional contemporary poet, whose wife looks back on her husband's life during the days just after his death. All three women deal with their husband's fame or notoriety. All three stick by their mates, taking seriously their commitment to the men they married, but also to assisting with and preserving their work. And this despite infidelities, despite a...