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Erasable Walls Paperback – May 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews


"One leaves the world of Erasable Walls exhilerated, with the sense of one's own world enlarged and enhanced." -- Bruce Bennett, Harvard Review

Erasable Walls is a series of elegant personal meditations on the always evolving self. These beautifully crafted poems show a degree of mastery that's rare in a first book. Though quiet and subtle, Larsen's voice is also nervy and truth-telling, with considerable cumulative power. -- Chase Twichell

I have been waiting for Lance Larsen's first collection for years, knowing it would be an event. It's here, and there has rarely been so assured an introduction, nor one so clearly of our time and yet firmly in the tradition. The poems are all strong, the best of them superb. -- Leslie Norris

From the Publisher

A wealth of quiet surprises, family poems, meditations from interestingly skewed and unselfconscious perspectives, as in "February 1922; My Father's Conception," in which this poet imagines his Mormon grandparents-to-be illicit love in a bunkhouse closed down for the winter; and in the poem "Lips," where a young boy digs a grave by the side of a road, "the sides chiseled/clean, as if I were uncovering a hole/already there," as his mother stands nearby holding in her arms the family's dead cat wrapped in Visqueen. All this boy can think of is his mother's lipsticked, beautiful lips--"I don't know the color/but wet-looking and waxy a favorite/kind of candy all at once."--while he works slowly, digging the hole deeper than it needs to be, not wanting to give up this intimate moment. These are illuminating poems that rise up from and out of the poet's Mormon upbringing in Colorado and Utah.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: New Issues Pr Poetry Series; 1 Ed edition (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932826601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932826602
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,063,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By on January 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
In a poetry milieu that seems to favor a defiant stance toward more "traditional" values and a caustic voice, Larsen's book seems to stand out by virtue of its quiet rebellion against the current. This is no empty rebellion, though. It's a conscious, quiet appeal to values that seem to receive only lip service at best in today's culture, but that have become Larsen's own. Recent trends in poetry have almost dictated that a poet needs to view family relationships as burdonsome and constrictive, especially when the poet is young and making a name for his or her self. But Larsen's collection eschews this quasi-requirement by writing about family relationships that are difficult, but ultimately affirmative and rewarding. Larsen begins his collection with an account of his father's own conception, then skips between poems about his wife and children, his parents, and his grandparents, weaving all these family relationships into a web in which "there's too much skin between" the particpants, but in which each seems to find solace in wanting "To touch and be touched." Larsen then pans out and looks at how this web actually seems to exist among others in the world, even though they may not acknowledge it as such. In "A Philanthropist Speaks to His Lawyer," for example, the speaker tells his lawyer to take his dead body to South America and follow a "hobbling woman / with veined calves" who will arrange for his burial. The speaker then predicts, "Humming softly, she will rub me / with scented oils, then lay me between / her sofa and broken radio." In the last section, Larsen illuminates how this web has effected him. He begins by with an account of a nest of "things [he] saved...Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven Ririe on June 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know to whom I could compare Mr. Larson since his poetry has it's own flavor and style. I own 2 of his books and I keep them out where from time to time I will naturally pick one up. When the mood is right I read the poem that most appeals to me.
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By Chris Burright on April 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Reading Lance Larsen's poetry in "Erasable Walls" was a refreshing experience especially due to the current literary world being dominated by criticism and novels. Poetry is somewhat of a dying art however Lance Larsen seems to resurrect it through his vivid work. From start to finish, each poem drew me in and allowed me to see the world through a variety of perceptions. In poems like "Lips", it's interesting how Larsen focuses on a child's perception of adults and how the details he notices are tied to the superficiality of his mother. With descriptive language like a "smeared" mouth and "wet looking and waxy" appearance Larsen allows us to step into this child's world and a little bit into our own past. In addition to this, Larsen also illustrates the requirement of children to grow up quickly sometimes, applying adult lenses to the perceptions he creates. In "Lips" near the end of the poem he does this, the child describing the numerous duties and errands of his mother and then saying, "I wanted to save all that, and her." In "February 1922: My Father's Conception" the perception is reversed, an older man reflecting upon youth. As the older man sees two names chalked into a driveway (presumably done by children) he reflects "names mapping the erasable walls of the heart." It is this kind of in depth imagery that Larsen employs that causes his readers to not only recognize his good writing, but cause them also to reflect upon greater issues and themes throughout life. This play-on-perception is a wonderful tool that Larsen uses that really captivated me and caused me to think about the power of perception and how perception can change reality. The poetry in this book was wonderful and if anyone is truly a fan of poetry, then they shall truly enjoy the work within this book.
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By Carolyn D. on August 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent collection of poetry. Larsen's poems are gift-wrapped delights, full of unique imagery and word combinations. Best when read out loud. In my opinion, this is the best of Larsen's published works.
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