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Uncoded Woman: Poems Paperback – 21 Dec 2006


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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Unpretty real 15 Dec. 2006
By BookDoc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though I love all types of good poetry, this book is special. More thematically narrative and philosophical than your average mainstream pretty-poems, Oomen's work is gritty, honest, storytelling, startling, and beautiful in its images. I couldn't stop reading, then couldn't wait to get it to another poetry reader, to share the gold.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
woman under the radar 9 Mar. 2007
By M. Cleary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What Anne-Marie Oomen has done with this collection of poems is unearth a woman not commonly seen in poetry. Her journey is geographical, but more interestingly, emotional. The "uncoded woman" does a great deal to create an earthy, heartfelt character, warts and all, one worthy of a new "code" if it was possible to ever classify the type of woman who is different but recognizable. It was like reading a novel in verse--and a very good one.
Poems moving and accessible. A story in verse. Very highly recommended 30 April 2015
By Timothy J. Bazzett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
UNCODED WOMAN: POEMS, by Anne-Marie Oomen.

I don't read a lot of poetry, because I often find myself flummoxed or mystified when I do. Not so much with this slim collection, which I wanted to read because I have so loved all four books of Oomen's prose, from her first, Pulling Down the Barn: Memories of a Rural Childhood (Great Lakes Books Series), to her latest, Love, Sex, and 4-H (Made in Michigan Writers Series). And in fact I liked these poems very much, finding them at once both accessible and very moving. The poems themselves form a narrative arc - a story - which is quite easy to follow. The speaker is the same in all the poems, a woman from New Orleans named 'Bead' (short for Beatrice), who, in the opening poem ("KS 1 I Have Taken the Line"), is "... on the run / ... My truck is military green and stole, / rest of me is black and blue, so down / and out, I don't know where I'll go."

Bead picks up a hitchhiker, a man part Native American, first name 'Barn,' and lands in northern Michigan, where he is from. Fleeing from a brutal father who has sexually abused her, Bead approaches Barn very carefully, "... trying to scent / where home is, if I want it" ("NE You Should Proceed with Great Caution").

Barn is a skilled fisherman, who knows lakes big and small, rivers and streams. In "FO I Will Keep Close to You," Bead studies him -

"So. After I marry Barn, I watch him fish. Salmon,
trout, perch, bass run to his lines and nets.

I guess if they must be caught, it would best
be his wide hands, large as burdock leaves,

his touch
sweet as bait on skilled line -

and the kill, when the time comes,
small as a star."

As a couple Bead and Barn have their highs and lows, but he builds a cabin and they begin to sink roots ("QX I Request Permission to Anchor"). But her abusive past still haunts her. The poems do not reflect an easy journey for Bead. There is not even any promise that things will end happily. But this is a tale in verse that will make you think; you will find yourself rooting for this woman. I've only had the book a couple days, but I think I have now read it at least six times. There is much to be gleaned from these carefully chosen words, and I keep finding new things each time through.

The titles of the poems here are signal codes taken from THE INTERNATIONAL CODE OF SIGNALS, a mariners communications manual that Bede finds a copy of in a local store and steals ("FZ 1 I Am Continuing to Search"). Hmm .. a battered refugee from the Gulf transplanted to the northern shores of Lake Michigan, and sailors' signals as metaphors. Does this work? Yes, and it works very well.

And speaking of northern Michigan, I wondered if the Art's Bar visited in a couple of the poems was a tip of the hat to Art's Tavern in Glen Arbor, a venue well-known to Oomen and the Beach Bards, a group of poets from the Traverse City area of which she is often a member.

But the characters that people these poems are not from the artists and poets strata of northern Michigan. Quite the opposite. Bead and Barn and their friends are more apt to be the kind eager to harvest a road-killed buck, take up residence in a junked Airstream, grow earthworms in the cellar, or sell the pelts of half grown fox kits. People scratching for a living on the fringes of society. It is a down-and-dirty, gritty, hardscrabble kind of existence, and Oomen has captured it in excruciating detail.

Poetry. Too often it leaves me scratching my head wondering, Huh? Not these poems. There's a story here, and a damn good one, worthy of repeated readings. Very highly recommended.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
A compilation of rather impressive and highly recommended verse by poet, playwright and essayist Anne-Marie Oomen 6 Mar. 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Uncoded Woman" is a compilation of rather impressive and highly recommended verse by poet, playwright and essayist Anne-Marie Oomen (Founding Editor of the 'Dunes Review' and Chair of the Creative Writing Department at Interlochen Arts Academy). All of the individual poems (each of which is headed by semaphore letters) combine to tell the story of a woman named Bead and her search for a safe harbor which involves ship's pennants and how they are used to communicate - and miscommunicate. 'UC - Is a Pilot Available in This Place?': Only one birch here not yet gone/to blight, dirty sleeve shines/its tattered column even in/this spring racked with fog.//Not yet riddled with punk, it holds/up a night sky that's too close,/holds up blind stars who see who I am,/not who I could be. I follow its rules://Hide in the dark./Stand alone./Move when the wind does./Don't talk.
An Authentic Life, Deliciously Mysterious 19 Oct. 2007
By Brynn G. Slate - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
More than a collection of poems, this book tells a story that reveals, piece by piece, an authentic life. Immediate and alluring, "Un-coded Woman" hooked me as each page not only shed a tempting beam of light onto a shadowed character, but also strung together a chain of images that offered insight into a person and landscape that both ultimately remained deliciously mysterious.
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