Betty Adcock brings fierce insight to her seventh poetry collection, Rough Fugue. Her elegant stanzas evoke bygone moments of beauty, reflection, and rage. “Let things be spare,” she writes, “and words for things be thin / as the slice of moon / the loon’s cry snips.” Adcock’s poems are often spare but never thin, shifting effortlessly from the eerie red of brake lights on a Texas highway to the fluorescents of an office building where a tired worker imagines a holiday in Spain.
Adcock reflects upon her poetic forebears, chronicling the desire to write that led them to create cuneiform tablets, scrolls of papyrus, and ultimately vellum and parchment. She also recounts memories about life with her late husband and tries to define herself in the bewildering new role of “widow.” In poems ranging in tone from playful to reverential, Rough Fugue showcases the work of a veteran poet at her masterful best.
Betty Adcock is the author of six previous books of poetry and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, the Poets’ Prize, the North Carolina Medal for Literature, the Texas Institute of Letters Prize for Poetry, the Hanes Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She taught for twenty years at Meredith College and for ten years at the Warren Wilson MFA program for Writers.