Interior Designs


65 pages
ISBN 0-919754-21-X
DDC C811'.54





Reviewed by Betsy Struthers

Betsy Struthers, a poet and editor, is author of Saying So Out Loud.


Potter’s Interior Designs are the highly personal confessions of a
woman on the verge of breakdown. From an apparently unhappy childhood
through miscarriage and thoughts of suicide, the poems reflect a
tortured sensitivity whose only release is in the play of language. In
the constant repetition of the initial word or phrase in certain poems
(such as “I said I was sorry!”; “crossing the street to get a
better look”; and “in the absence of naming the womb contracts”),
this play builds to a powerful, satisfying climax. Images of birds often
recur—from the Canary, the singer who shares the poet’s soul with
the “Domesticated Moon” in the suite of poems with that title (and
which might stand for the mythic female principle?) and who accompanies
the poet everywhere from vacation to her lover’s bed, to the alter ego
robin whom the poet invites to nest in her yard (“she seemed to be
expecting a bird”). Suicide is personified as a man on the prowl,
following the poet in the streets looking for a chance to pick her up.
Home becomes both haven and trap. The problem with the book for the
reader is also its raison d’кtre: the poet’s intensely personal,
often tortured vision both seduces and excludes by intimating an
understanding of the female psyche in a patriarchal world while it
frustrates through lack of concrete detail any real perception of the
poet’s life as well as her emotion.


Potter, Robin., “Interior Designs,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024,