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From Rain: Poems, 1970 ` 2010 Paperback – May 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 138 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco Qua Press (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1467500658
  • ISBN-13: 978-1467500654
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,198,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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These are wonderful, fabulous poems by a poet worthy of the greatest praise.
Robert Gerst
Guernsey's arresting lyrics offer bold, fresh metaphors that, like lighthouses, illuminate our most intimate seas.
Sheryl St Germain
The reader can attach his or her own loss to the touchstones of Guernsey's words.
Annabelle Moseley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate on August 8, 2013
Format: Paperback
The poems in Bruce Guernsey's From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010, give to the universal themes of love, loss, nature (both physical and human), and memory "a local habitation and a name." Guernsey's poems are deft in their precision and surprising in their range. Closely observed is "The Apple," in the collection's first poem, which goes through a Wallace Stevens-like "13 Ways" of perceiving "the fruit that made us all human": it is "the weight of a heart" where "a seed rocks/in each tiny cradle."

From there, the work launches into the arc of an emotional life that we all share: childhood, family, marriage, children, loss, and the memories that paradoxically keep the dead alive within us. In "Leaving the Station," the speaker's face in the train window recalls his grandfather "long since dead,/shuffling cards,/the soft applause/of their falling together." This same originality of perception appears in "Yam," where the homely vegetable is described as "...the potato that ate all its carrots/...its eyes the scars/from centuries of shovels, tines."

Perhaps most moving are the longer poems about Guernsey's father and uncles, who all either served or barely missed serving in World War II, and the legacy of that experience, still raw and relevant to subsequent "war" generations: the flashbacks, the nightmares, the "battle fatigue" that families of veterans must endure. In the sonnet "Night Patrol," the speaker's mother tells of one of those nightmares:

[H]e tried to close my frightened eyes, my lids,
to thumb them shut like he was on patrol

the way he'd learned so they would sleep, the dead.
And then blessed himself and bowed his head.

One wishes there were no longer an audience for war poems, but sadly, potential readers are plentiful as ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Annabelle Moseley on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read From Rain from cover to cover. I'm so glad I did--it unfolded like an epic. This is one of the best contemporary books of poetry I have read in a long time. Often, in a collection of poems by one poet, even a fine poet, one encounters ho-hum poems among the jewels. In the case of From Rain, I found each poem to be a jewel. Bruce Guernsey's images are consistently vivid, fresh and surprising.

Part One has subjects, images and language reminiscent of Frost, but in Guernsey's unique voice. "The Apple," is a particular favorite to read aloud. "Splitting Wood" and "Stones" are two other standouts.

Part Two is profound and compelling. Guernsey writes of personal pain in a way that is archetypal and universal. The reader can attach his or her own loss to the touchstones of Guernsey's words. "The Search," and "The Passing" are two unforgettable poems.

Guernsey also has a startling ability to blend the humorous with the profound. In Part Three a standout is "Weatherstripping," with its surprising image of the snowman. There is also a theme in Guernsey's work of "strange language," - appearing in "Long Distance," "Timetable," even in "North," how "nouns are skin and bone/ for verbs to gnaw on."

Part Four is evocative and brave-- gems like "For My Wife, Cutting My Hair," "January Thaw," and the collection's title poem.

This is a collection to be re-read and treasured.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By alan d nurkse on May 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Bruce Guernsey's new collection FROM RAIN is a treasure. As in the great rural poets--Issa, John Clare--the relationship to nature in Guernsey's work is more visceral than aesthetic, charged as the air between lovers.

Guernsey is a compression expert who can shoehorn a lifetime into a line in "Oatmeal" or channel the cycle of generations in a stanza in "The Well:" "...the dark stream where the dead kneel/cupping their pale hands,/splashing the stillness from their eyes.//I drop a stone in ours to hear/if there's water for the children's bath..." This is writing that braids lyric and epic.

Guernsey's natural world, like John Haines' wilderness, is the locus of history, not an escape from it. "Doug" is a remarkable exploration of the price of war. Unlike most "collected poems," FROM RAIN has an arc, character investigation, and a through-line; it's authoritative work from an important poet."

D. Nurkse
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Van Walleghen on May 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
FROM RAIN is a remarkably accomplished collection of poetry published by the distinguished poet Bruce Guernsey from books and magazines he's appeared in over the last forty years. His sense of form, from the clarity of his diction to the subtle and precise attention he pays to detail and the individual line, recommends him as one of the most formally astute poets now writing in America. Among other things, these are very accessible poems but not simple by any means. And while they are full of the vicissitudes of Midwestern and New England family life, they explore much darker and complicated areas of the human psyche as well. Above all, these poems are invariably interesting and a pleasure to read. Be assured that FROM RAIN is one of the most enjoyable books of American poetry published in the last ten years or so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cemerson on April 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
Bruce Guernsey's From Rain: Poems, 1970-2010 contains work from the poet's four books and seven chapbooks, as well as new and uncollected poems--the volume abundant in lessons crafted within the contexts of family, of nature, and of the world at war. Guernsey remains keenly aware of the shifting place of the self within these various, volatile worlds, and, while understanding that all can "vanish at the flash of a shadow," he never loses the capacity for seeing "the glass pure sky" of love and joy. From Rain is finally a beautifully mortised, cohesive whole, the collection very much like "this paper you touch, a metaphor for earth." This truly is an amazing collection.

Claudia Emerson
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