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The Lesser Fields (Colorado Prize for Poetry) Paperback – October 26, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Colorado Prize for Poetry
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Center for Literary Publishing (October 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885635125
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885635129
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schlegel's debut, winner of the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry, presents a stark, haunted landscape, as expansive as it is lonesome and yet quietly inviting. It's a world where the mind projects its solitude onto nature while nature returns the favor. Here and not here, says Schlegel, I breath away/ the parts of myself I no longer require. A lost lover knits with the natural world after death (Tonight, her name is a leaf covering/ my left eye. The right I close/ for the wind to stitch shut with thread/ from the dress she wore into the grave/ where the determined roots of the tree/ are making a braid around her body); elsewhere another lover is able to fill the bath with everything that has/ Or could ever happen between us, imbuing everyday domestic tasks like bathing with symbolic portent in language both straightforward and seductive. A series of haiku-like November Deaths ekes out little truths (But for the tip of land/ At which the vessel is aimed/ There is nothing to steady its course) and another series of Lives asks, in various ways, Toward what am I drawn? Answers are everywhere in this promising first book. (Jan.)
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Review

"Schlegel's debut, winner of the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry, presents a stark, haunted landscape, as expansive as it is lonesome and yet quietly inviting. It's a world where the mind projects its solitude onto nature while nature returns the favor. 'Here and not here,' says Schlegel, 'I breath away/ the parts of myself I no longer require. /A lost lover knits with the natural world after death (Tonight, her name is a leaf covering/ my left eye. The right I close/ for the wind to stitch shut with thread/ from the dress she wore into the grave/ where the determined roots of the tree/ are making a braid around her body);/ elsewhere another lover is able to /fill the bath with everything that has/ Or could ever happen between us,/ imbuing everyday domestic tasks like bathing with symbolic portent in language both straightforward and seductive. A series of haiku-like /November Deaths ekes out little truths (/But for the tip of land/ At which the vessel is aimed/ There is nothing to steady its course/) and another series of Lives asks, in various ways, /Toward what am I drawn?/ Answers are everywhere in this promising first book."
Publisher's Weekly


"Rob Schlegel has a mind of winter. Like the painter Morandi, Schlegel makes a world of absence and deprivation-our world, the world of human mortality-feel like plenitude. Imagine wanting to discover the place where you yourself 'have not yet happened.' Now imagine creating this place in a language of hard-won precision-a diction and syntax so elegantly austere that the smallest gesture becomes an explosion of possibility. The result is a book that feels rivetingly contemporary while resembling nothing else, a book that seems shockingly intimate while giving nothing away. The Lesser Fields is a guide-book to the world we've always known but never truly seen."
James Longenbach, final judge


“In The Lesser Fields, Rob Schlegel takes a lit match to the surfaces of his words in an act of poetic arson. Thus the poet wanders a landscape whose commonplace markers-fish, sea, trees, birds-are made disquietingly strange: "Before my mind / Can shape it, presence / Finishes a thought in my fingers." The natural world of language manifests with an incendiary beauty at once tender and dangerous, reckless and precise. This poetry burns subtly, but the heat is unmistakable.”
Elizabeth Robinson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dagne Furth on June 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
The meat and potatoes of poetry sensation Robert Schlegel, is his knack for articulating the space for all things, "that have not yet happened." Like a suspenseful book cover or masterfully edited preview at the big box, his words debut themselves independently of their designated meaning or context. Sometimes a hint or a sniff is all you get. And sometimes this has to be enough.

Schlegel's prose unwraps the cool before the cold, the pause before the light strikes the hue which is your favorite, the one you always wait for. So what if you stop to smell the roses? What about the millions of smells that came before the roses and the billions of thoughts that pre-empted the will to cause you to want to smell anything at all in the first place?

Whether or not we (the readers) retain the authenticity of the implications he meant for all things "that have not yet happened," is of no consequence. Schlegel knows like any seasoned writer, interpretation and creative application is left solely to the reader. "Lesser fields" is the ride that twists and turns you through space you never thought to think about and leaves you dizzy, curiously reflective, and satisfied.

On a personal note, it is extremely gratifying to know that Linfield College produced more than the likes of Amy Tan. Now, they may boast of Robert Schlegel too.

Cheers to trailblazing with class and subtlety. Your imagination is divinely inspired.
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