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Same Life: Poems Hardcover – September 2, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McLane (who teaches at Harvard) has built up a national reputation as a critic and reviewer, and this debut showcases a poet who is always clear if sometimes terse or challenging, often allusive, yet open about her own life, McLane's spare free verse, splayed out across the page, draws on such seemingly antithetical resources as Grace Paley and Ezra Pound, the New York painter Philip Guston, Lorine Niedecker, the fragments of Sappho (the basis for one sharp sequence) and the resources of contemporary slang: we video'd our way from thing/ to thang to thong. Catechism—among McLane's more serious poems—warns The place I live is only sometimes shareable thus weeping. If McLane's poems, with their white spaces and their clipped phrases, sometimes seem too fragmentary, too much like ordinary speech, often enough their rough edges turn out to be part of a careful design. Alert to tragic truths and to comic moments, politics in America and in France, urban life and country retreats, McLane concludes with what may be her strongest suit: tough-minded eroticism: do I still turn to them the dead/ who speak in type the way sun bursts between the legs those days/ a tongue moves so. (Sept.)
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Review

“Reading Maureen McLane's Same Life is like discovering Francois Truffaut's first films: this is an exhilarating, brilliant poet whose smart earlier essays prepared the ground. The best poems here are something new in the world, from gorgeous lyrics like ‘I wanted to crawl inside a middle voice' or ‘Populating Heaven' or ‘There is a place in the world' or ‘Core Samples' to the nervy pyrotechnics of ‘Excursion Susan Sontag.' Luminous fragments--the shattered mirror that everywhere reflects a light-filled ungraspable whole--McLane makes into a new way of possessing the world. This is a thrilling first book.” ―Frank Bidart
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374165335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374165338
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 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: #2,700,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I have to confess that my favorite type of poetry is narrative poetry, dense on the page and deliciously crammed with images and stories. I like finishing a book of poetry, and feeling like I've gotten to know a new friend -- from the foods they like to eat, to the people they fall in love with, to the music they listen to when they think no one else is around.

So imagine my surprise when "Same Life" by Maureen McLane found its way into my bag and how soon I became captivated by its airy, luminous charm.

With poems that simply float all over on the page, McLane invites the reader not so much into her life as much as into her very thoughts. She travels the landscapes of America, of literature and of love with sly, confident voice. Some of my favorite poems were so short, they felt like the poet was whispering her insights to you in sotto voce, producing perfect clever gems that stuck in my head for days. Other longer form work allowed McLane to share fuller stories, but without giving too much away -- a poetic smoke and mirrors.

Considering my narrative inclinations when it comes to poetry, it should come as no surprise that I finished the book wanting to know more about the author than she was prepared to give in verse, but nonetheless, I truly enjoyed taking a break from my usual poetic fare with this smart, Basho-esque book
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These poems address Costco, Susan Sontag, genocide, in-loveness, summer and life in general with language, rhythm and thought that are new and unfussy and deeply moving. Read and re-read: the poems change and they change you.
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Format: Paperback
I'll be honest and say I've never found poetry accessible. Nor have I ever been very fond of it. When a poem manages to make me stop and actually pay attention, I know I've stumbled across something magnificent. Maureen McLane's poetry has become some of the rare poetry that I enjoy. During my initial reading of her work, I was struck by several of the poems. I actually went back and re-read them, fascinated by something in them. I wasn't sure if it was her wording or her chosen subject matter, but they definitely stuck with me. Her poems flow so wonderfully and speak to the reader in a way that makes you feel that you are sharing in her "same life." I also had the opportunity to hear her read her work and speak on it. Hearing her read the poems out loud made them stick with me even more. At first, I was unsure of how her writing would translate into being spoken. I was surprised how well the fragments worked when she read them out loud. So did the mix of slang and formal language she weaves into her poems. I was surprised and in a very good way. I don't know exactly what makes her poetry appeal to me (a self-proclaimed poetry-hater), but even if I don't figure it out, I can say I was truly touched by Maureen McLane's poetry. This is some of the rare poetry I will re-read and enjoy as I do so. This collection of poems is remarkable and won't disappoint.
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