05 - fall by Amy Newman Jul 11, 2008 21:50:37 GMT 2
Post by shayepoet on Jul 11, 2008 21:50:37 GMT 2
A single word holds a narrative of the human condition.
This new book by award-winning author Amy Newman explores as its formal structure the 72 definitions for the word "fall." These lovely, accessible poems span a narrative drama -- from the creation of the world and the subsequent exile of its first inhabitants, through the downward movement of the human body in its surrender to illness and the world's gravitational pull, to the beauty in the descent of spent foliage in autumn.
Each definition of "fall" engenders its own poem, and the definitions serve as poem titles. Section one explores the theological sense of The Fall, and section two focuses on the present world, addressing how the blemish of that Fall -- real or imagined, religious or cultural -- exists in us as homesickness, physical illness, and domestic and spiritual dissolution. The third section attends to the very gesture of defining, of finding ways to name and live in a world where both the landscape and the language are vividly alive yet saturated with memory and loss.
To assume an expression of disappointment: His Face fell.
2) the birds hovered less than would be tranquil
3) rain could be problematic
4) once companions are introduced, the notion of alone-ness
5) they had been designed with certain capacities (not to be used)
6) nothing about her body
7) her responses, though: that distant look at everything
8) her interests
9) He was disappointed
10) her vulva open like a new bloom
11) they were supposed to have been
13) yes, in spite of the design, like the peacock
14) who shows a glimmering fan, whose colors are unique,
15) who shines, displays its wealth. But it is meek.
16) He could enumerate these disappointments:
20) the possibility of loneliness
21) their capacity
22) genitals, entirely
23) also want
24) all this
25) in the inscrutable grasses
26) their moving bodies, unfathomable
27) how to express: His Heart sank?
28) Reader, I am disappointed too. Before the exile
29) the chipmunk's belly was grey, grey brown, the gazelle
30) swift as the tiger. And rain, though problematic,
31) never fell with such weight, a retribution.
32) The little creature's new white belly,
33) that predators can see. He's never safe. Why so?
34) Purity, before the stain. To have had it,
35) and lost it. And loneliness
36) and doubt. The garden's final innovation.
Praise for fall:
"That Newman has created a series of poems this accomplished would be worthy of praise in any circumstance. Doing so while detailing the flaws and lacunae of language itself - that is a definitive mark of excellence."
-- Danny Leigh, Guardian Review
"Amy Newman is an exceptional poet. She has a way of looking into the corners of thoughts and illuminating them, and her imagination excavates the smallest nuance."
-- Barbara Jordan
"....Of course, the attraction of this particular single-syllable word for Newman - whose third collection this is - seems obvious. Repository of fear and wonder, it carries with it a taste of mortality, a sense of the physical at its most fragile and finite. But, again, Newman sidesteps the expected; rather than visions of plummeting figures, she instead starts her collection focusing on a rather different fall - that of Adam. And from there, she sets out to create that most treacherous of devices: a narrative, subtle but overarching....
....That Newman has created a series of poems this accomplished would be worthy of praise in any circumstances. Doing so while detailing the flaws and lacunae of language itself - that is a definitive mark of excellence."
-- Danny Leigh (The Monsters of Gramercy Park), London Guardian (tinyurl.com/694zwd)
"Through these poems, Newman has developed her ideas of man's repeating the patterns of beautiful gardens from memory, the seasons' passing underscoring our sense of loss, the fall of night saddening us as an end and language being a poor substitute for the original beauty that we miss. Therefore we must agree with her that "The tongue is an eye: language is an eye: it speaks a dream of loss: it hastens to a thing not said: it knows the way home but will not speak it… when we left the first home we inherited this language." Further, she succeeds in leading the reader to accept the epitaph that opens her book "how little at home we are in the interpreted world" (Rainer Maria Rilke). This is a magnificent book of poems by an original poet."
-- Sumita Sheth, Bookslut, (tinyurl.com/5sxkwt)
About the author:
Amy Newman is the author of three books of poetry: Order, or Disorder , Camera Lyrica and fall. Her work has won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, the Beatrice Hawley Award, a MacDowell Colony fellowship, and three State Individual Artists Fellowships. She is anthologized in the forthcoming The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries, and her work has been translated into Italian and Romanian.
On Amy Newman (Reginald Shepherd): tinyurl.com/6e4com
Posse Review: tinyurl.com/64q6au
ISBN: 978-0-8195-6709-3, 84 pages, $13.95 Paper
ISBN: 978-0-8195-6708-6, $22.95 Cloth
Wesleyan University Press
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