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The Book of Goodbyes (American Poets Continuum) Paperback – September 3, 2013

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The Book of Goodbyes (American Poets Continuum) + Black Aperture: Poems (Walt Whitman Award) + Incarnadine: Poems
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Product Details

  • Series: American Poets Continuum (Book 138)
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: BOA Editions Ltd.; 1St Edition edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938160142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938160141
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Peace makes awful poetry writes Weise in her second collection, in which goodbyes begin long before you hear them/ and gain speed. Split into two main sections—or acts—with Intermission in between and Curtain Call at the end, this is a smart and savvy ode to absences—of a lover, of a self, and of a part of the self, literal and figurative. Weise, an amputee, writes brilliantly about being marked as a disabled poet; in Café Loop, a dialectic between strangers, she writes, I knew her/ from FSU, back before she was disabled.// I mean she was disabled but she didn't/ write like it. Big Logos, Weise's name for her paramour figure, is Li Po sometimes/ and Catullus others, making cameos in varying stages of departure: The thing about him is// he keeps being the thing. You could never/ count on him. I did. Intermission's whimsical, hip fables star anthropomorphic finches, and the Curtain Call's Elegy for Zahra Baker—a philosophical tract on absence, presence, and pain—brilliantly examines the case of a missing person, a young girl with a missing leg. Throughout, Weise's masterfully balanced voice transforms even unique intricacies of her experience into a way to relate to—not alienate—the reader. This is a brilliant book ultimately about connection. (Sept.)


"[The Book of Goodbyes] punctuated with an intriguing dip into magic realism." —Charleston City Paper

"…a smart and savvy ode to absences—of a lover, of a self, and of a part of the self, literal and figurative ... This is a brilliant book ultimately about connection.” —Publishers Weekly *Starred* Review

"This book reminds us that the pain of love and loss, in the hands of a powerful wordsmith such as Weise, might just morph into passion, thrill, strength. And that love-suffering can bring us ever closer to lovability because through it we learn to connect, renew, transform.” -Brenda Shaughnessy, The Academy of American Poets

“...unflinching and profoundly relevant poetry … a take on alienation that implicitly indicts all of us.” -Huffington Post

“These fierce, hip, heartbreaking love poems call out to a lover who can’t be lived with or without. They’re humorous, odd, and full of all the unreasonable truth of love. This book is the real thing.” -Publishers Weekly

“Book of Goodbyes is edgy” and “in-your face.” -Library Journal

“Jillian Weise … is a force of nature. This collection follows up her debut, The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, with what happens when sex becomes love that just won’t go away — no matter how unsuitable the beloved seems to be. This is love poetry for the 21st century: hot, hip and heart-rending.” -Craig Morgan Teicher

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jillian Weise is an amputee. Let's discuss that first, because her altered body, and its attendant demands on her spirit, recur early and often in her verse. Does her prosthetic leg make her disabled, disfigured, different? Like the best poets, she resists answering her own questions, preferring the process. After all, her leg isn't her only interesting trait, just the one outsiders see first, and judge.

And that dominates the greatest portion of her verse: not how she responds to her own disability (if that's the word), but how others respond to it. She appears to take it for granted. Poems like "The Ugly Law," about how cities formerly used legislation to keep undesirables out of sight, or "Elegy for Zahra Baker," about a murder victim similarly transformed, unpack how others perceive women with prosthetics.

Therefore, Weise crafts remarkable voice poems, creating wholly realized identities who judge and criticize, dissecting herself vicariously. Sometimes Weise slips among voices, sudden and unannounced, mid-poem, creating a dreamlike texture where everything and nothing coexists simultaneously. At times, it's impossible to determine exactly who's speaking, as in her thirdhand self-examination, "Café Loop":

She had it easy, you know. I knew her
from FSU, back before she was disabled.

I mean she was disabled but she didn't
write like it. Did she talk like it?

Do you know what it is exactly?
She used to wear these long dresses

to cover it up. She had a poem
in The Atlantic. Yes, I'll take water.

But despite this motif, Weise doesn't write a book about her amputation. She's written two previous books; perhaps she's already come to grips with this theme.
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