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Misery Prefigured (Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry) Paperback – April 9, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (April 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809323834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809323838
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,968,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“It is Rosser's splendid articulation that impresses initially, not just that her poems are well written, but that they are so resolutely anchored in the idioms of speech and the necessities of the human heart. She ranges fluently from blues riffs to experimental lyrics and narratives, to formal poems of such confidence that they seem at once ancient and contemporary. And if Rosser cares deeply for balance, not the least pleasure in reading Misery Prefigured derives from a rage so fiercely governed that it puts one in mind of Yeats. I do not know of another poet so unafraid of the rhapsodic and yet so capable of high wit, of addressing the world's ‘full frontal mundanity.’”—Rodney Jones, author of Elegy for the Southern Drawl



“J. Allyn Rosser’s poems are savvy close-readings of her daily experience. She knows how to balance cynicism with the hope for love in language that is freshly minted and full of local surprises. In the words of her own metaphor, she writes with heart and wit about the friction inside the machine of her life.”—Billy Collins, author of Questions about Angels



“Do not be misled by the darkness of this collection's title: Misery Prefigured is in fact one of the brightest volumes of verse to appear in a good long while. Partly this is due to Rosser's scintillating technique and her always refreshing use of the tradition, whether she is updating the wit and conceit-making of the Metaphysical and Cavalier poets or giving us a wryly feminist recasting of the vernacular of O'Hara and Schuyler. These qualities have always distinguished Rosser's work, but in this new collection they are accompanied by maturity of vision and a hard-won clarity that is more often seen in the writing of poets twice her age. J. Allyn Rosser is one of the most distinctive poets of her generation.” —David Wojahn, author of The Falling Hour

From the Publisher

Rodney Jones, final judge of the 2000 Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry, writes of his selection of MISERY PREFIGURED: "It is Rosser's splendid articulation that impresses initially, not just that her poems are well written, but that they are so resolutely anchored in the idioms of speech and the necessities of the human heart. She ranges fluently from blues riffs to experimental lyrics and narratives, to formal poems of such confidence that they seem at once ancient and contemporary. And if Rosser cares deeply for balance, not the least pleasure in reading MISERY PREFIGURED derives from a rage so fiercely governed that it puts one in mind of Yeats. I do not know of another poet so unafraid of the rhapsodic and yet so capable of high wit, of addressing the world's 'full frontal mundanity.'"

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
In this collection of poems, Rosser displays marvelous mastery of form along with an intelligent, thoroughly authentic voice. Unlike many poets whose forays into rhyme and meter end up stuffy, hollow and nostalgic, these poems feel alive--because they come from a deeper place. They also reflect the substance of the poet's life without sloppy self-absorption. If you want confessional angst or self-consciously clever word games, look elsewhere. If you're looking for depth, originality and incisive wit, Rosser's poems deliver. Many contemporary poets cannot work in form. Rosser can.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Haugh VINE VOICE on January 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a big believer in poetry. Even those of us considered readers do not do enough reading of what is current in poetry. When I come across a poem in a magazine that really moves me, I try to find a book of that author's poetry and read it. In an issue of Poetry magazine awhile back I read a poem by J. Allyn Rosser called "Meeting on the Street" which I think is fantastic. That lead me to this book.
There is much to like in this book. I found a number of the poems-- "Square Dance, Fourth Grade," "Decreator," "Patience Is a Virtue," "Rods and R.," and "Before the Sickness Is Official"--to be very good. The poem "Realism" is probably the strongest poem here with its clever self-portrait hidden within the description of a friend painting the author's portrait: "...my willfully/ unwilling stillness..." and "I never smile except when she paints me,/ because I know her flaws, stubborn bitch,/ I know she'll go ahead an paint a smile in./ I figure it may as well be mine." Does this tell us more about the author or the painter?
Though none of these poems moved me as much as "Meeting on the Street" (which is not contained in this volume, by the way), these poems show Rosser to be a strong poet who is only getting stronger. If her skills continue to improve, her next volume of poetry should be extraordinary. Still, this volume is worth reading.
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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
Deeply awful poetry. Another example, if another were needed, of what a good education can do to a woman.
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Misery Prefigured (Crab Orchard Award Series in Poetry)
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