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100 Notes on Violence (Sawtooth Poetry Prize) Paperback – January 15, 2010

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sprawling experimental poem in 100 parts, Carr's third collection variously examines the ways violence permeates our daily lives. Part personal reflection, part research project, Carr (Equivocal) echoes writers and thinkers from Dickinson and Whitman to Bataille and Sontag. Disturbing subjects such as child abuse, bomb-making, and the horrors of the Internet (I cannot write the words 'school shootings' in to the little search box./ Later I hear that whatever you write…will somewhere/ be recorded...in order to better sell you./ what does a person searching school shootings want to buy?) are interspersed with short, simple lullabies—never been to Texas, never been to Spain, never been to/ Holland, never been to Maine—as if Carr is simultaneously reassuring the reader and heightening the sense of danger. Despite these moments of calm, though, Carr (who is an editor of Counterpath Press) is clearly uninterested in comforting collective anxieties. Instead, she confronts them: Dear opposition, dear trashed strollers, dear/torn to pieces: Wasn't, won't be, isn't me. She also calls out our communal culpability—everyone's life is riddled—from which she doesn't exclude herself: my mother kicked my shin and I kicked her back. Why did I so enjoy this? (Jan.)
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Review

"In this polyphonic poem the voices of care-givers, killers, and children commingle and, disturbingly, sometimes overlap. Innocence and guilt are never far apart. 'At the pool the boy in cammies reads an encyclopedia of weapons.' This book has a great moral complexity, gravitas, and courage." --Rae Armantrout, judge of the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize

"'The book about violence must be a book of quotations' according to Julie Carr in 100 Notes on Violence, 'For everyone speaks about violence.' Few have spoken or written on the subject with the desperate accuracy and the incendiary beauty of this disturbing, necessary book. Here, the quotations include statistics and news reports as well as the more traditional poetic forms, all to engage finally a light like that of the sun, 'its daily insurrection, daily assault.'" --Bin Ramke
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Product Details

  • Series: Sawtooth Poetry Prize (Book 2009)
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Ahsahta Press (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193410311X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934103111
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some of these poems are not exactly 'stand alone' pieces, but they fit in the context of the rest of the book. Some get a little abstract, but given the title and the purpose, it makes a kind of sense.

My favorite pieces were prosody, and the ones that got very real and very graphic very quickly. I can see how, if that were the whole book, no one would be able to digest it. At least, not all at once.

The whole thing is a push and pull.

I liked it.
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The copy of Carr's 100 Notes on Violence I received was constructed poorly: the pagination goes 1-68, 61-68, 85-109, meaning that I am missing pages 69-84. And I wonder, of course, what poetics occurred during those pages.

But I like the progression of the text. I like how Carr's notes build upon each other. How the second line of the text is

I'm attracted to children, feet like little suns

and it isn't until note 30 and beyond that we again see "feet like little suns" and hints of pedophilia. I like witnessing a note ending and another starting so similarly, with the same words, speaking of the same subject, etc. I wasn't bored. I also wasn't enamored. I have no doubts that Carr is a brilliant poet, and I too commend her discussion of violence, but I cannot imagine that she was rightfully chosen as the winner of the Sawtooth Prize. This is not to say that I did not like 100 Notes on Violence: quite the contrary. I liked it, but I wonder if I understood it, if it is not the subject that is award-winning instead of the poetry found within the pages.

The first thing I noticed immediately is the way I am enamored by Carr's half-rhyme. I wanted to note each instance of it in the margins, but after the first note, I quickly realized that it would take more time than I have to offer such a project. I did note, however,

My son is wroth, my daughter too, and me, myself, I am wroth. A fugitive
on the earth, and a vagabond. (49)

This, and coupling "airspace" with "delay," not only for its descriptive connotations, but for its meter, its sound. I too liked more overt rhyming, as found later in "happy air - green green canopy - not to be timid - not to be impeded" (92).
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