Semifinalist in the 2005 Independent Publishers Book Awards for Poetry!
About the book:
Readers approach a book of poetry with questions lurking at the back of their minds: Will this work share new ways of experiencing the world? Will it sing? Will it be enjoyable? For this book, the first collection of Fitzgerald’s poems, the answers are emphatically Yes, yes, and yes.
Many of the poems here are strongly sensory, generating indelible, fresh visual images of things as diverse as the tiny tracks of a vole in the snow and the sweep of auroras across the sky, or aural images of a madman’s song and a jazzman’s sax. The precision and elegance of the poet’s words can make readers pause to appreciate their own perceptions in light of hers. Or to examine their feelings: One of Fitzgerald’s strong themes is the linking of families across generations; from an eloquent, spare elegy for a dead granddaughter to an appreciation of the storytelling of a grandfather, she shows the ties that bind—and some of the knots and ravels that afflict those relationships.
Fitzgerald writes disciplined poems, tight in rhythm and sound, often in formal modes. She understands in her bones the musical basis of poetry, and some of the works here almost chant their way off the page (consider “Connections,” for example). Yet there is nothing stuffy in this collection, and even her most tender love lyric may end on a wry twist. For all their sophistication, these are accessible, delightful poems, enjoyable from first to last.
About the author:
Doreen Fitzgerald was born in Lansing, Michigan, in 1940. She lived her youth and young adulthood in the midwest (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana). After graduating from Portage High School in Michigan, she attended Kalamazoo College, married, and had two children, Ben and Jenny Rogers. She later completed her undergraduate work at Purdue University, where poetry came to the forefront of her interests. While at Purdue, she gained five stepchildren (Mike, David, Pete, Pam, and Chris Toal).
In high school and after college, Doreen’s writing efforts were concentrated in journalism. In the late 1970s she worked at a small Indiana newspaper and later as news editor for the weekly Antrim County News in Bellaire, Michigan. After graduate study in journalism, in 1980 she went to Fairbanks, Alaska, to see what it was like. She found out, found Bob Emmett, gained a stepson, Jon, and continued to earn her living as a writer and editor. During the winters of 1991–92 and ’92–93, she attended Michigan State University, where she earned a master’s degree in English.
She and her husband took over operation of the Crazy Loon Saloon & Movie House, established by her son Ben, and ran it for about a year. Located in Berry, Alaska, near Ester, the saloon is still in business as the Blue Loon, and is a popular local independent movie theatre hosting many musical events and comedy shows.
Today Fitzgerald works as a writer and editor for the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences and continues to write and publish her poetry, some of which has appeared in the local newspaper, The Ester Republic.
This is her first book.
LibraryThing reviewers, April 2008
"Doreen Fitzgerald writes pleasant, tight little poems filled with a mix of homey and cosmopolitan imagery... The meter of her poems, even when formal, comes off effortlessly and lightly--a mark of skill, in my opinion. I'm glad I got to read this little book."
"Cake is a delight to read. One hopes Fitzgerald has drawers full of notebooks from the years of her journey, and that she will see fit to share them with us soon."
Alaska Writers Homestead, July 19, 2004, by Sonya Senkowsky
The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor
"Jack + Judy" selected as the daily poetry reading for the February 3, 2007 edition of the Almanac, the third of Fitzgerald's poems chosen by Mr. Keillor for inclusion on his nationally aired show.
The Arizona Republic, July 4, 2004, by Richard Nilsen
"What is relevant is the lyric. Such poets as Alberto Rios, James Broughton and Doreen Fitzgerald write poems that we can read with the intense pleasure of recognition: That is my world, that is my heart."
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, June 21, 2004, by Dermot Cole
"While living in Indiana in the 1970s, she had a porch swing. She wrote the following after living in Alaska 23 years, remembering warm days in summer and the heat of youth. "Dog Days" is fitting for the first day of summer..."
The Juneau Empire, June 20, 2004, by Ann Chandonnet
"Few publishers risk investing in first-time books by poets, but the Ester Republic Press has taken that risk with its very first book, "Cake: Selected Poems" by Doreen Fitzgerald. They chose well....This readable collection includes a wide range of subjects, from childhood memories of a boy who grew up to die in Vietnam to the tracks of a vole in the snow. Fitzgerald observes carefully and chooses her words with care....[She] really gets rolling in poems like "Jack + Judy," where similes pile up like sourdough flapjacks on a breakfast plate. She is as enviably comfortable writing about tending bar as she is writing about gardening."
Heartland (Fairbanks Daily News-Miner), June 13, 2004, by Shana Loshbaugh
"'Cake,' the debut poetry collection from Ester writer Doreen Fitzgerald, is a satisfying morsel of a book...Fitzgerald reflects on life's turning points, public and private, with a clear-eyed insight. She writes of sober passions, quiet joys and the nuances of everyday things. She wields her words with confidence and competence, understanding the power of understatement."
NewPages.com, May 30, 2004
The Purdue Exponent, April 12, 2004, by Katie Lietz
"Doreen Fitzgerald is true to her words.... the reader encounters a mix of rhythm, sound and emotion that is somehow familiar. Fitzgerald captures the human ties between friends and family and illustrates some of life's most interesting yet overlooked moments."
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