01 - Line Dance by Barbara Crooker May 16, 2008 21:19:34 GMT 2
Post by moira on May 16, 2008 21:19:34 GMT 2
In Line Dance, Barbara Crooker embraces the world with open arms, in open celebration: "everyone I've ever loved/is here today, even the dead, raising a glass/and dancing.../bubbles rising/in a fluted glass, spilling out, running over." Even these graceful poems can scarcely contain the world's abundance. Line Dance is a sublime tonic against the darkness.
Blues for Karen
God does not leave us comfortless.--Jane Kenyon
The season of your death, morning glories trailed
along the wire fence, one tone deeper than the sky.
I still go to the telephone to call you,
but the lines don't stretch to heaven--
the title of a bad country & western song.
How could you die? We weren't done talking yet.
So I am trying to call you using the morning glories,
whose blue mouths are open to the sky,
whose throats are white stars,
thinking those tendrils could trellis upward,
hand over little green hand, so tenacious,
they hang on in any storm,
forgetting that the quick slap of frost
will put out those blue lights,
that the seasons will snap shut like a purse,
that this old blue world will keep on spinning,
Reviews for Line Dance:
"In a line dance, nobody gets left out. Barbara Crooker's Line Dance reminds me of Bruegel's paintings, canvases spilling over with energy and movement. In Crooker's collection, chickadees, peonies, heartbreak, birth, marriage, death, autism, rock & roll, and Paris appear not as a jumble, but as in a gathering and swirl of the sweetness of the earth. Each subject is held and lifted like an offering, dense with metaphor. Our attention is drawn to each separate moment until 'the moon shuts off its flashlight under the covers of night, / and we all go to bed in the dark.' Crooker knows and loves life's ordinary details and watches them so closely and skillfully we can almost see the atoms dance. This book makes me glad to be alive."
"Barbara Crooker graphs both joy and grief through her bracing and unfaltering attentiveness to lines of all sorts, in dance, in poetry, in painting, in maps, and in the flesh. She locates traces of a rare and errant sweetness. What we marvel at most in Line Dance: acute moments of bravely-won poise; intimate accounts of time past and time present; the marvelous defeat of the dragon of despair--again and again and again."
"Just what is this line that Barbara Crooker so gracefully dances? It's the life-line, parent to child, ad infinitum, richly experienced and exquisitely observed. It's the commemoration of a world of growth and nurture, 'An oak leaf's chlorophyll / production line,' for instance. Even the lines of the poems, building to each powerful illumination. More than anything, though, it's what shows 'how well we / lived in that small space where the hyphen goes,' the little broken line of our lives. And that's not to forget the gorgeous disturbances recounted along the way: flamingos, 'those sunsets on the wing,' or 'a cherry tree which has been whipped to a froth,' or the blank ants on a peony Crooker sees we resemble, 'whose true job / is to gather all the sweetness they can muster.'"
About the author:
Barbara Crooker is the author of one previous collection of poetry, Radiance, which won the 2005 Word Press First Book competition and was a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Good Poems For Hard Times; Sweeping Beauty: Contemporary Women Poets Do Housework; Red, White, and Blues in America; and Boomer Girls. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily and read by Garrison Keillor on NPR's The Writer's Almanac. She is the recipient of three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, twenty-four Pushcart Prize nominations, and a number of other awards: the 2006 Ekphrastic Poetry Award from Rosebud, the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the 2004 Pennsylvania Center for the Book Poetry in Public Places Poster Competition, the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, the 2003 "April Is the Cruelest Month" Award from Poets & Writers, and others.
Watch a reading! www.barbaracrooker.com/video.php
ISBN:978-1933456928, 80 pages, $17.00
WordTech Communications, 2008
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