Restoring the Wickedness


78 pages
ISBN 1-894345-10-X
DDC C811'.54






Reviewed by Laura M. Robinson

Laura M. Robinson is assistant professor of children’s literature at
Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario.


In this volume of poetry, Eva Tihanyi presents an exploration of sexual
politics from Adam and Eve and Lilith, and more contemporary female
icons, to deeply personal poems. Many of the poems read as exercises in
cleverness rather than insightful, thought-provoking investigations.
“Lilith’s Advice to Persephone,” for example, is a small poem:
“Spit the pomegranate seed in Hade’s face / And go home more
often.” Poems like this might solicit a smile for their intelligence
or mental gymnastics, but they do not seem like poetry.

Fortunately, the poems improve, and the final series of poems,
“Committing Love,” are the best. They employ startling and beautiful
metaphors, relinquishing the self-conscious intelligence that
characterized the earlier poems. For example, “Best Friends,” a
simple, easy poem that speaks deeply of the passage of time, examines an
old friendship: “[I] wonder what moments live holographed / in the
archives of your memory, / pedastalled to perfection.” Similarly,
“What We Take With Us,” a poem about the poet-persona’s son,
expresses the power of memory; the son will remember not winning the
soccer game but “the smooth wet nylon / against his back, the cool
rain / on his hot face, / the power of his foot / connecting with the
ball.” These poems are unforced, unself-consciousness, and deeply
touching. A metaphor in “Berry Picking” shows Tihanyi’s ability to
sculpt a moment: “we blend into the August landscape, disappear / from
each other like planes from radar, / call out occasionally into the
silence / to register position.” These are the poetic moments that
result in the reader being deeply affected rather than merely amused.


Tihanyi, Eva., “Restoring the Wickedness,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024,