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The Heaven-Sent Leaf (American Poets Continuum) Paperback – October 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: American Poets Continuum
  • Paperback: 59 pages
  • Publisher: BOA Editions Ltd. (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934414158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934414156
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 45 almost-sonnets in this second collection from Lederer (Winter Sex) meditate on money and commerce ("The earth is a dollar and the moon is a silvery coin"), wondering how to find meaning as a cog in a capitalist machine. At times, the poems yearn to be free of big business, but the vibrancy of this series is found in the viscous push-pull between money and Eros; the tension sings ("I've brought you all these presents which I've placed beneath this/ flowering tree:/ Bright red box, bright blue box, and a small vial of Botox"). In an era when business asks, "Who stole my cheese?" these poems are populated with superbly chosen allusions to finance and literature. "Heaven-sent Leaf" comes from Goethe; "Brainworker," the title of several poems, was coined by the influential economist J.K. Galbraith. Nietzsche and Lyn Hejinian, among others, also appear. At times, Lederer's verse is sparkling, though a meandering prosiness sometimes flattens the lines. But at her best, Lederer combines musical lines with excitingly jerky leaps of thought, claiming for poetry a fact that usually seems farthest from it: "There is, in the heart, the hard-rendering profit." (Oct.)
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About the Author

Katy Lederer is author of the poetry collection, Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003), which Publishers Weekly included as Best Nonfiction Books of 2003 and Esquire Magazine named one of its eight Best Books of the Year 2003. She holds degrees from University of California at Berkeley and Iowa Writers' Workshop.

More About the Author

Katy Lederer is the author of the poetry collection, Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003), which Publishers Weekly included on its list of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Year and Esquire Magaz

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zinta Aistars on January 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
What do poets know of money? What do poets know of capital? Katy Lederer asks and answers such questions in "A Nietzschean Revival" and throughout her new collection of poetry, The Heaven-Sent Leaf. And why not the poet, perhaps the best stockbroker of all in tendering the crumpled and transparent leaves of the spirit, exhibited here as expert in capital. Life is, after all, all about transaction, barter, the give and take between human beings, or between oneself and oneself--the hardest bargain of all.

Katy Lederer, poet and author, is also....

Brainworker

To learn to keep distance.
To learn to keep drear managerial impulse away from the animal mind.
Along the dark edge of this reason. Along the dark edge of this mind's little prison,
inside of its bars now a silky white cat.
Howling.
Crawling in its little cage.
Inside of its cage is the bright light of morning.
Inside of its cage is the light of disease.
To learn to be an animal. To learn to be that primal.
To know who will slip you the fresh dish of milk.
To long for your manager's written approval.
So soon am I up for my year-end review?
The moon above settles into its shadow.
I am howling at you.

Lederer titles more than one poem, "Brainworker." There are four of them, in fact. And so you begin to sense the spinning we do in our every day routines, work work work, and then home, and then work work work, and all of it about transaction, some profitable, some not. This collection is money (transaction) put into poetry, and if at first glance that seems an odd fit, Lederer proves the fit is very near like that of a glove.

To know something of Lederer's background explains this fascination.
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Format: Paperback
Katy Lederer, The Heaven-Sent Leaf (BOA Editions, 2008)

There are few better ways to get me to read a book of poetry than to have it blurbed by Liz Willis, one of my favorite contemporary poets. Combine that with the book in question being by Katy Lederer, whom I'd never read before but who is the daughter of Richard Lederer (of the Anguished English books) and sister to Howard Lederer and Annie Duke, poker players extraordinaire, and that's pretty much a guarantee. Given all that, I was pretty sure this wasn't going to be a question of whether I liked it, but how much.

"I am taken by the minster
He lays his soul to rest.
He is clean as a dove and is lovely.
Like the general drift,
He is caught, as if in a net.
Welted with his longing
For his archangelic mother,
Like a people or father
He loses her among the waves...."
("The General Drift")

Lederer plays it straight and simple here, choosing her words with care and her images with precision, and in the end that is all we can ask of poems. These are solid pieces, and very very good ones, and the only real snipe I'd take at the book is that it seems like it was a little too loosely-tied for a concept piece. That, however, is not a problem with the work itself as much as it is how the work is packaged; these poems still demand your time and attention, and this is guaranteed to hit my best reads of the year list somewhere. ****
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i like Sugawara no Michizane, Shakespeare, and Frost, and Katy Lederer. There are some beautiful things happening in this book. It's in a drawer by my nightstand, and on hard days I'll open to a page, read a poem or two, smile inside, and sleep soundly.

Remember The Twilight Zone's "It's A Cookbook!!!" line? Had that same feeling when I realized "the Heaven Sent Leaf" was a dollar bill. Or maybe a $20. ;^_^
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