5 thoughts on “The Helens of Troy, New York

  1. Some of these weren’t that great, but the sestinas worked really well and by the end I was swayed to give four stars. It’s short and worth a read for a taste of Mayer.

  2. A charming chapbook and a charming concept. Bernadette Mayer writes a poem for each one of the Helens who live in the town of Troy, NY. The poems range from formal whimsy to experimental. Each poem is accompanied by a photo of said Helen in her natural environment. This book made me smile. I loved the poems where she uses the voice of the Helen she is portraying, you really get a sense of these women and the little town they live in. Playfulness abounds.

  3. as a helen myself i was naturally drawn to the title, and found it to be was an enjoyable read. the short poetic snapshots of women called helen living in troy, NYC give a brief insight into not only that woman’s life, but the town as well, and sometimes the interconnections between the families of the town, evoking a strong sense of the locale (a bit “under milkwood” perhaps). each poem is accompanied by a black & white photos of the subject and some of these are quite beautiful portraits a

  4. socialism’s ok for americans sometimes, e.g. the library
    the post office, the schools where people
    can learn about ancient troy or all the troys
    even the ones without any markets
    by the names of price chopper or hannaford, names
    that might appear in our dreams where a different

    landscape, or map as it were, leads to a different
    way of perceiving like books in a library
    which can lead you on a quest, already inherent in your name
    to find the place where people, all people
    freely & unworriedly go to a c

  5. Whimsical, and obviously great fun for Mayer herself, but not much here for me, I’m afraid. No doubt the Helens of Troy, NY are all very nice, but either not much has happened to them or Mayer doesn’t manage to explain what’s happened to them. At the same time, you do get a good picture of the town itself, which at least hints at the general condition of post-industrial American life outside major urban centers, as well as a bit of a feeling for how we got here.

    In short, ideal chapbook material.

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