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Hammered Dulcimer (Swenson Poetry Award) Paperback – June 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lisa Williams isn't easy on the reader or herself. But what a dark, steady, lyric voice she has. What poetry!" -- Poetry Annual

From the Publisher

The 1998 winner of the May Swenson Poetry Award. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Swenson Poetry Award
  • Paperback: 75 pages
  • Publisher: Utah State University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874212480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874212488
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,192,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Customer on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My only complaint is that Ms. Williams has not put out another book of poetry since this fine collection, the winner of the May Swenson Award for a first-timer. Other readers seem to view her work as trite over-workshopped craftsmanship; it is precisely the qualities that they deride that make Ms. Williams' work stand out from the rest attempting to practice their craft today. Rather than becoming self-absorbed with the thought of oneself as a "poet" while sinking headfirst into a miasma of hackneyed cliches, Ms. Williams explores the world of culture and ideas while at the same time offering exceptional style and imagery. I was a contemporary of Ms. Williams' at UVA, though as a literary critic and not as a writer -- and have heard her read several times. She is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive readers of poetry I have heard, perhaps only eclipsed by W.D. Snodgrass and Derek Walcott. Judge for yourself -- if you are a student or lover of poetry, it is definitely worth you time to read this collection, and it should be available at almost any major university library.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I remain startled by this collection of poems. The introduction by John Hollander, and the jacket blurb by Harold Bloom, compare the author's work to that of Wallace Stevens and Elizabeth Bishop. At moments, I also hear the presence of Emily Dickenson. Like them, Lisa Williams is a wildly inventive rhetorician--quirky, idiosyncratic, philosophical, and intense. She frequently attempts the sublime, but never embarrases herself, because she is a disciplined artist with a complex and mature vision. Within a line, she will modulate from the awesome to the amusing and back again. I would like to recommend two poems in particular, which represent the variety of this collection: the longer narrative "Description in Parts" and the strange and beautiful ballad, "Yellow Bird"--a moving homage to the poet John Clare.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Hammered Dulcimer offers not only music and vision, but a formal luminosity and an utterly seductive intelligence. If there was once a gap between sensuality and thought, between image and idea, that wound has now been healed. I'd recommend this volume to anyone interested in the absolute best of what's being written by America's youngest generation of poets.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know of any poet of the younger generation whose aims and voice are as distinctive as Lisa Williams'. A lot of poetry these days consists of naïve (or else ironic or heavily stylized and encrypted) self-expression, but Williams' best poems are often more like acts of the imagination in the seriously playful mode that Stevens perfected--they are poems "of the mind in the act of finding What will suffice," to use his phrase. Like Moore and Bishop, Williams pays intensely vivid and particularized homage to the things of the world in a voice that can be bracingly informal even when pushing the boundaries of currently accepted dictions and styles or when challenging the reader intellectually. At once enigmatic and evocative, speculative and lyrical, visionary and grounded, Williams' best poems manage to sound both carefully made and improvisatory. In an odd way they can sometimes seem akin to both formalist and "spoken word" currents in poetry today.

I'm glad to see on Amazon.com that Williams has a new book coming out in the spring. Among the ten or twelve new poems I've seen in magazines over the last few years have been several amazing meditations or imaginative riffs on subjects like sea creatures or the sun or cosmological phenomena, one or two very musical themes-and-variations (in the mode of Stevens' "Idea of Order at Key West," perhaps) and a handful of autobiographical poems--though even in those Williams never descends into the triviality or exhibitionism of confessional poetry.
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Hammered Dulcimer (Swenson Poetry Award)
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