August 03, 1981 12:00 PM

by Toby Devens Schwartz

A former child actress with subsequent experience as a teacher, free-lance writer and suburban housewife in Columbia, Md., Schwartz says this beguiling little book of poems is “based on the premise that God must have a sense of humor or He wouldn’t have created gynecologists.” Schwartz’s own sense of humor is Bombeckian, and her poetry explores the metaphysics of such subjects as in-laws, supermarket coupons, Tupperware parties, sibling rivalry, stubborn daughters and, in a rare serious moment, infidelity. Though there’s nothing devout about these poems, the prayer format is inoffensive and Schwartz uses it artfully, as in these lines from On Exercise: “Like the larks of Jerusalem, I will raise my voice in praise/And stretch my heart in song/But that’s all I will raise and stretch/With your forbearance, O Lord.” (Doubleday, $6.95)

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