Monday, November 12, 2007

Bookmarks for September and October 2007

Okay, so I'm a little behind, and when I say "a little," I mean a lot. I did read the following books, but I have been so far from being able to write what I want that I nearly just gave up. But I did take some notes, and I'll pass those notes/thoughts on to you. However, if they are less than coherent....well, just tough.

Franz Wright's God's Silence (2006). After his Pulitzer Prize winning volume, Walking to Martha's Vineyard comes this thoughtful sequel (to some degree). Franz Wright has crafted another book that is powerful in its hope, especially when found with the bleak.
Notes about the book:
1. A number of lines are repeated throughout the book, most notably: "And I have heard/God's silence/like the sun"
2. Some parts are like fragments of dreams and books and nightmares.
3. Had read "Prescience" before in The Best Spiritual Writing of 2005. (Can be found on this page.)
4. Some parts "simple" as if conversational--like William Carlos Williams and Raymond Carver.

Claudia Emerson's Late Wife. This book won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize. It is a very strong and thoughtful meditation on endings and beginings. After a prelude poem, "Natural History Exhibits," the book is divided into three main parts. The first (Divorce Epistles) concerns the ending of her first marriage. The second section (Breaking Up The House) is about solitude. The third section (Late Wife: Letters to Kent) is to her husband in her new marriage (a widower) and is mostly made up of blank verse sonnets.
Part I -- instead of anger, seems to focus on loss. Relationship deteriorating, but there is also a sense of what brought them together/attached them.
This morning, though, as I put on my coat.
straightened my hair, I saw outside my face
its frame you made for me, admiring for the first

time the way the cherry you cut and planed
yourself had darkend, just as you said it would.
There also seems to be disappointment without bitterness: "it is the sentence//spoken the second time--truer perhaps,/with the blunt edge of a practiced tongue" ("Aftermath").

Part II -- in "The Audubon Collection" after musing on Audubon dissecting birds in attempt to capture their beauty, she writes: "There will always be/such things I regret knowing" But then she concludes: "I can wake to their voices restored,//transfigured to one, distinctive, clear/but bodiless....the window glass calling out//of something like despair, or hope,/somewhere ni the flightless trees". "The Practice Cage" -- "an absence finished"

Part III -- Sorry. This is a very strong, wonderful section, but my notes are incomplete here. I did notice three poems I really liked that think deserve more commentary: "The Cough," "Stinged Instrument Collection," and the final poem "Buying The Painted Turtle."

I strongly recommend this volume. I wish I had more time and energy to review it. I will pass on the link to a pretty good, more thorough review of the book by Edward Byrne.

I apologize that I have not posted more. I have been reading, but thing are busy as far as work and slow as far as getting what I like done about what I read. During the time (so long ago it seems) I was reading these books, I also began Stephen Dunn's Everything Else in the World. Who knows if I'll get that reviewed. I have been sent three interesting chapbooks from Maverick Duck Press. I do hope to write about them very soon.

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