One might argue that blackface performances of the thirties and forties (and earlier) are so far in the past and such a product of their time as to be beyond judgment, but I’d disagree. I’d rather assessments of artists be made with knowledge of their warts and all.
Of Silence and Song doesn’t just reward close, attentive reading. In fact, it demands it. Of Silence and Song is a highly lyric book, advancing a series of impressions rather than the march of a central, tightly reasoned argument.
Confessional poetry—particularly work that deals with the end of a relationship—is exceptionally tricky to pull off without coming across as navel-gazing and self-centered. Edith, however, is a remarkable work of pathos, using the inward gaze to illuminate both the self and everything around that self.