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HOUSE OF POURED OUT WATERS: POEMS (Illinois Poetry Series) [Paperback]

Jane Mead
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 15, 2001 0252069447 978-0252069444 First Edition
In "House of Poured-Out Waters", Jane Mead's substantial new collection, she continues to grapple with a world both personal and cultural. Poised in the slender moment between too early and too late, between the difficult past and the unimaginable future, Mead's poems remind us that the old debates about fate and free will, nature and nurture, are also matters of personal urgency. More than anything, it is her spiritual dimension that offers Mead a way into the future - but that way must be paved, image by image, with the world before her. Simultaneously conversational and lyrical, these fearless poems extend the possibilities of narrative verse.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mead's first collection, The Lord and the General Din of the World (1996), earned her a Whiting Writer's Award. Her second, an even more powerful work, is infused with pale light and pearly pain even as it pulses with chiming word repetitions and syncopated rhythms. Lithe and spare, Mead's poems move across the secretive white of the page like cat tracks on snow. Some are whispered prayers, lunar and full of shadows. Others express anger, sorrow, and bursts of sarcasm or metaphysical playfulness. Mead's title refers to Bethesda, the pool in Jerusalem where it is believed that Jesus healed a man who had suffered for 38 years, and water does offer solace, erasure, or escape in Mead's poetic realm. Everything there is mutable, and violence is always afoot, whether in the form of a child abuser or an earthquake, but life's push and pull, its flashes of beauty and myriad couplings, inspire the brooding poet to offer others "something / a person could live by." Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"[A] powerful work ... infused with pale light and pearly pain even as it pulses with chiming word repetitions and syncopated rhythms. Lithe and spare, Mead's poems move across the secretive white of the page like cat tracks on snow." -- Booklist "The mutable realm inhabited by this second collection of poems shifts seamlessly between loss and redemption, despair and exaltation... Mead is "making flypaper out of history./ Personal and cultural," collecting and recollecting particles of a shattered past that coalesce, ultimately, into a testimonial to her passion for life and to the power of historicity... Her poems evolve from a confessional nucleus devoid of self-pity, conducted by supple lexicon, and 'when you listen to the words / you know they want life / just like we did, only harder." -- Ellie Sarasohn, Boston Review "In [Mead's] breathtaking second collection... [she] has distilled narrative to a startling purity. An extraordinary tactile silence abound in Mead's taut, uncompromising emotional landscape, which ranges through grief, anger, complicity, petition, cowardice, grace... The smallest, most fragile events are taken in by Mead, delicately, unrelentingly, and are weighted with purpose, seen deeply, imbued with the capacity to speak with composure to the ineffable and the horrific, equally." -- Lia Purpura, The Antioch Review ADVANCE PRAISE "In Jane Mead's second book, House of Poured-Out Waters, she lifts from ground-zero to reclaim the self by reclaiming a world that can make words work. Sometimes violent, sometimes luminous, these poems form a stunning language that marvelously empowers her concerns and lifts her into a higher realm of lifeworks." -- Philip Booth Praise for Jane Mead's earlier work: "Mead combines flinty honesty with an organic intellect... She employs taut, colloquial language and firmly places her personal history against a searching, almost existential understanding of the world-even at its most difficult." - Publishers Weekly "Crossed and recrossed with a plain speech that is haunting in its directness ... these fully realized poems remind us of Robert Lowell's darker half." - Booklist "Mead's language is so freshly constructed, so nervy, that she is able to transform topics that may seem merely sensational in the hands of a lesser poet-for example, drug addiction-into art... Jane Mead proves herself to be an exceedingly lucent and thought-provoking poet." - Dorothy Barresi, Gettysburg Review

Product Details

  • Series: Illinois Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Edition edition (March 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252069447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252069444
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,592,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Complex and Rewarding Poem August 4, 2001
This is not a book for the casual reader of poetry. There is tremendous power in the writing but the manner in which images and sub-themes move through the collected poems to bring them together into one requires several readings if one is to begin to understand the achievement. The closest example that comes to mind is Transtromer's "Baltics".
The poems as individual pieces have great beauty on their own. Readers familiar with Ms. Mead's earlier book, "The Lord and the General Din of the World", will find the same clear voice and the mastery of language. I was surprised (pleasantly) to find "The Prairie as Valid Provider" - my first experience with Jane Mead's wrting - incorporated as an element in this book.
Listen for a second to a few lines from "The World" -
"... the grasshoppers are anonymous
to the anonymous, the birds
are always at attendance.
There comes a moment
when you see as the crow sees:
the body as slaughterhouse,
as beggar - in the long grass, kneeling."

This is poetry to read when you have come to the point where you are ready to change your image of what poetry could be. "House of Poured-Out Waters", like "The Lord and the General Din of the World", like "Baltics", will determine how you will read poetry in the future.
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