A Handful of Bees
Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1994
Read an excerpt
The poems of Dzvinia Orlowsky negotiate matter and spirit with a feisty dreaminess. Wavering between these two worlds, the author of A Handful of Bees inhabits that pre-dawn landscape where wakefulness emerges only to recede, like a herd of horses or an outcropping of firs, into sleep mist. This is a countryside of honest uncertainty.
– Mary Maxwell, AGNI
I’d like to point out for particular mention Orlowsky’s handling of her religious background. Raised in a Ukrainian family, she was brought up to be a practicing Catholic. This subject has been explored by numerous writers, yet few can capture the exquisite pain and confusion of a child struggling with the mystical beliefs forced upon her … Dzvinia Orlowsky’s work shows a great heart, a forgiving soul, and a voice strong enough to carry the exquisite moments she brings to life so well.”
– John Skoyles, Cross Roads: Journal of the Poetry Society of America
Never jagged, Orlowsky’s pure, clean images draw attention to our clumsy, big-handedness; we respect the small dramas exposed in poems that seem almost guardedly to belong to the poet alone. Her subject, the young females’ relationship to her family—especially to older women—is somewhat new in American poetry’s history, and thankfully, is being explored with more frequency.
– Linda V. Russo, The Harvard Review
Dzvinia Orlowsky’s poems may serve, single-handedly, to bring back the New Internationalism, reminding readers how much we need her kind of energetic images, ironic, life-saving wit, prismatic compression, and austere, indecorous, heartfelt diction. Her poems grow out of Herbert, Rozewicz, and Wat, but they’re also American in their intimate laments, and the combination makes them, gratefully, hers.
– Ira Sadoff
Dzvinia Orlowsky has the rare ability to think metaphorically in her poems—one vivid thought/felt thing is followed by another and another and the read is left with the feeling that he/she has experienced something strange, complete, and utterly original. This is a beautiful book.
– Thomas Lux