rev. of Waiting for the Paraclete by Lise Goett

Issue #89
Winter 2002-03

Waiting for the Paraclete
Poems by Lise Goett. Beacon, $15.00 paper. Reviewed by Susan Conley.

Lise Goett’s first book is a lush investigation of a life that is never pedestrian and often wildly dramatic each poetic image as if bejeweled in gorgeous language. Goett’s lyrical narratives ride violent, ever-changing currents of emotion. The entire collection is informed by the crests: joy, disappointment, envy, erotic passion. Often set in mythical contexts or in the Paris of “saturnalian balls / chandeliered with faux-marble walls,” the poems continually render beauty but at what price for the speaker?

Goett has a roving, hungry eye, and her poems are not afraid of the immense sadness that infuses the book with a bittersweet melancholy: “It is hard to begin with a death, / albeit metaphorical, / of what you thought would be your future . . .”

The writing here is timeless, the lines luxuriously long and sinuous. Goett’s flirtation with grandeur and her wonderful, ornate descriptions render the book one long night out in Paris at the turn of the century.