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announces in the end that she “had been chosen/to live on/ and on in the mortal soul/of the wayward tale.” Or as Conoley says in “Native Grace,” “There’s n6where to go but on,” and her poetry does just that. This is not meant in a pejorative sense. Conoley’s inventive poems are unperturbed by mistakes and full of forgiveness for herself and others, even, for as she says in that poem, she had a cousin who looked “a little like Oswald” who no one claimed on either side of her family. But Conoley took him in along with so many other souls she seemed to have encountered along the way: history’s Belle,Starr \(“My only son/ so loved me/ in an open field/ with the same hands// he shot me, and in the back,/ three times. The pain in my spine/ I was glad for;/ it kept me alive “a red brag/ in the middle of the road/ shattering bits of The theme of acceptance is treated with particular poignancy in Walter McDonald’s “Eighteen,” which refers to a son he “cannot bring back,” The apparent conflict between teenager and father is hurtful, and yet the poet reaches an understanding of how he must accept that his son “has too many scars/ to be a child again.” If the father has contributed to the son’s staying away, he also knows that he once held him on his lap, “taught him/ pattycake, cat’s cradle … how to walk, how to make fire,/ how to bed down under stars.” The speaker pleads for patience, and is perhaps somewhat comforted by knowing that at a certain age some sons must make their own way, against all the father’s teaching, love and suffering. Accepting this fact is no easy task, but McDonald’s poem is evidence of his artistry and wisdom, of his facing up to a bitter experience and tuPning it into a thing of beauty through the miracle of measured speech. Likewise, Susan Wood in her poem “Nineteen” has not forgotten “it’s so hard to be” that age with its “powerlessness, all that sexual/ longing that makes you feel as if you’re burning/ from the inside out,” when one “can’t separate/ personal freedom, responsibilty, from the good/ of the state,” when one suspects like Hamlet that “there’s something wrong/ at the heart of things.” But in the end the poet says that even though she can fully empathize with her young student, she still knows “the grammar of desire, how the heart longs/ to fill and to be filled.” It is this “grammar of desire” which drives Wood to accept that even if “description is the best” a poet can do though “not enough” it at least offers, as she says in “Hope,” “What saves us … something small, the thing/ so insignificant we hardly notice … It was there/ all along, had we seen it, the way/ the constellations are always/ in the stars.” Susan Wood’s poems often remind me of the writings of other Texas poets. “Sunday Nights” \(still, I can’t help thinking how that movie might end:/ the train stopped just in time by a tele”every grave is piled high like this/ with paper flowers, so gaudy/ and and “Too Good To Be True” \(with its reference to “that sign hung for years above the courthouse:/”The Blackest Land, The Whitest Sandra Lynn’s “Happy Endings” and “Mexican Cemetary,” Carolyn Maisel’s “Witnessing,” and James Hoggard’s “Tornado’s Eye.” Lines in “Campo Santo” \( “they call it holy field, / and even those without belief/ say it is blessed by Phillip Larkin’s famous “Churchgoing.” Though at times Wood’s poems ramble a bit and lose their focus and impact, hertwork is neither derivative nor pointless; Wood’s poetry has achieved a renewed and profound treatment of regional settings and themes and has done so in a voice wholly her own, one that is both BY DEBORAH LUTTERBECK BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED WAR AGAINST AMERICAN WOMEN By Susan Faludi New York: Crown Publishers, 1992 552 pages, $24 REVOLUTION FROM WITHIN By Gloria Steinem Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1991 323 pages, $22.95 “Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that.” The Red Queen to Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. Gov. Ann Richards likes to use this vignette when she talks about women’s progress. It’s the same sentiment some times seen on t-shirts that say: “A woman has to be twice as smart and work twice as hard in order to get the same chance as a man: Fortunately it’s not hard.” But it is. Look at the statistics: Richards is one of three women governors. There are two women in the U.S. Senate and there are two who head Fortune 500 companies. In 1988, college-educated women were still earning 59 cents to a man’s dollar. This is no portrait of progress. This is some of the evidence that Susan Faludi uses, in Backlash: The U ndeclaredWar Against American Women, to counter false hopes women might have about their, progress. Gloria Steinem’s new book, Revolution From Within, is however, a lesson in false hope. In Steinem’s book we have one of the very few nationally recognized women’s role models offering a trea Deborah Lutterbeck is an economics writer based in New York appealing and convincing in whatever it has to say. Along with Walter McDonald, Gillian Conoley, and other Texas poets, Susan Wood has penetrated into the “Bedrock” of Texas experience, which Conoley infers in her poem of that title, telling us, “we live in this world/and the last, and the next,/ now or never.” All three of these exceptional poets are, in McDonald’s words, “Digging on Hardscrabble,” seeking to quench us from a consoling spring. And while they know “three wells out of four/ are sand,” they haye yet lowered themselves into their own depths, in an effort to spin us up out of Wood’s blend of love and awe and shame into McDonald’s “almost liquid light.” [I] tise on self-discovery that reaches back to her “sixteen-year-old self in Toledo.” Gloria Steinem’s book is a disappointment . It might be compared to U.S. Trade Represen-tative Carla Hills returning from a round of international trade negotiations with a collection of recipes from the old country, rather than a tariff concession. Faludi describes a war which women are losing, while Steinem talks about a revolution based on internal revelation. Which would you rather take into battle? Information about the land mines, or a good relationship with your inner child? Faludi describes a cultural and political counter-offensive against the women’s movement. T.V. shows, like “thirtysomething” portray “single, professional and feminist women [who] are humiliated, turned into harpies, or hit by nervous breakdowns; the wise ones recant their independent ways by the closing sequence.” The fashion world is run by the likes of Guess Jeans advertising visionary Paul Marcino, who says: “The majority aren’t getting married…. Their independence took over their private life, and their private life was tremendously damaged. They ‘v,e passed thirty and they’re still not married and they feel like they haven’t accomplished what they wanted to as women.” According to Faludi, the popular press reinforces these damaging stereotypes. Newsweek for instance, declared that a single woman in her 30s had a greater chance of being attacked by a terrorist than getting married. Headlines described this phenomenon as “The Awful Truth About Women’s Lib,” or “When Feminism Failed.” The real failure is in the so-called “facts,” Faludi points out. The news about marriage prospects never made it into the final version of the government study that provided the background for the story. The woman in the Census Bureau who uncovered the fallacies of the report Faludi writes, “was Women at War THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19