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Space, In Chains (Lannan Literary Selections) Paperback – March 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Lannan Literary Selections
  • Paperback: 110 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; First Edition edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556593333
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556593338
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Frightening in its confrontations with death—that of a father and, eventually, of everything—Kasischke's new work is also ambitiously exhilarating: everything in life and literature, it seems, could come before her eye, could end up in a poem—"the terror of foxes./ And the children's hospital./ And the hangman's alarm clock," even "Lazarus, who surely never dared/ to lay his head/ on a pillow/ and close his eyes again." Known for her representations of mothers and teenagers in her poems and in her many novels, Kasischke now takes equal interest in illness and old age: rightly celebrated for her irregular, spiky, and intricately rhyming lines, Kasischke has now extended her interest (begun with her last book, Lilies Without) in the prose poem, using its fragments for recollection—"the ridiculous cheerfulness of sunflowers, the drifting immemorial ashes of the blueprints, the soup grown cold." For all its length and all its lists, the volume ends up tightly, almost wrenchingly focused on the omnipresence of suffering, the fact of mortality and the persistence of grief. Some readers might call it melodramatic; many more ought to call it symphonic, perceptive, profound. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Laura Kasischke: Laura Kasischke’s most recent book of poetry was Lilies Without (Ausable Press, 2007). She has published six other collections of poems, as well as seven novels. She was a Guggenheim Fellow for 2009, and lives in Chelsea, Michigan, where she teaches at the University of Michigan in the MFA program and Residential College.


More About the Author

Laura Kasischke teaches in the University of Michigan MFA program and the Residential College. She has published seven collections of poetry and seven novels. She lives with her family in Chelsea, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

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The sun, like the drifting ashes of a distant past.
Roger Brunyate
These intuitive/counterintuitive poems are scary, beautiful, astounding, moving, surprising, heartstopping, sad, trancendent, dark, enlightening and entertaining.
ffrode
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves poetry.
Sarah Koplowitz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By DabblerArts on September 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Refreshingly uncomplicated stuff, in some ways. Kasischke is also a novelist, the biographical note in the back says, and I think it shows - the poems start at point A, goes through its variations, and ends at a definite, farther point. The endings aren't earth shattering, but they're definite endings that belong to the poems. And going back to the collection now, I'm surprised by the prevalence of alliteration and assonance, exact and slant rhymes, and repetitions of phrases and lines - in short, all the usual accoutrement of verse, as opposed to prose. There's also an interesting rhythm to the poems, where short lines are contrasted against long lines (which don't lose their energy), and long lines become prose-poem paragraphs (or really, really long lines?). It's unusual and great, all for being so unfussy, I think. As a reviewer noted in the New York Times, this is a very sure hand, relaxed because it is in control.

But Kasischke's main weapon is the lovely and lovingly surreal image. At times (such as in "My son practicing the violin"), I find the images a little too indulgent, but most of the time they're effective and memorable by being strange yet not wildly strange or bizarre. Time for a long quotation to show what I'm saying:

"Pharmacy"

A knife plunged into the center
of summer. Air

and terror, which become teeth together.

The pearl around which the sea
formed itself into softly undulating song--

This tender moment when my father
gives a package of cookies to my son.

They have been saved
from the lunch tray
for days.

Hook
in a sponge. The expressions on both of their faces.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2012
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"Like this woman with a bucket in the morning gathering gorgeous oxymora on the shore." As her title suggests, Laura Kasischke loves the tingle and challenge of a good oxymoron. Here is the opening poem intact, a paragraph of lyrical prose entitled (as is one of the later verse poems also) "O elegant giant":

"And Jehovah. And Alzheimer. And a diamond of extraordinary size in the hand of a starving child. The quiet mob in a vacant lot. My father asleep in a chair in a warm corridor. While his boat, the Unsinkable, sits at the bottom of the ocean. While his boat, the Unsinkable, waits marooned on the shore. While his boat, the Unsinkable, sails on, and sails on."

She says one thing, and then seems to contradict it with another. Five of the poems are called "Riddle," and even most of those not so called are difficult to understand at first. Generally with a poetry collection, I pick a poem at random, study it, and move to another. Here, I got almost nowhere until I had read through the entire set of 82 poems like a novel, barely comprehending, but drinking it in nonetheless. Sometimes, I'd bookmark a couple of things, like these lines from a poem entitled "My son makes a gesture his mother used to make":

"He does it again. The sun, like the drifting ashes of a distant past. The petals of some exploded yellow roses.

The miracle of it.
The double helix of it.
The water running uphill of it.
Such pharmacy, in a world which failed her! She died before he was even alive, and here she is again, shining in his eyes."

But then I began to notice themes.
Read more ›
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By druek on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Kasishcke creates new worlds, invites you in, and makes you live there. You come back to this one with your head spinning, a minty taste in your mouth, and a second shadow tailing you everywhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Maxson on December 19, 2013
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It is always a pleasure to find a poet with a truly original voice and style. These are gut personal poems, the way Sharon Olds is personal, but readers are compelled to fully visualize Kasischke's amazing imagery over and over in their minds to get at these poems, as much pictures as words.

I look for the signature poem, when I first open a book. In this one I am reminded of those things that would transport us out of our selves, out of what binds us: "Hamster, tulips, love, gigantic squid...the tour de force of water...birdsong after a rainstorm." I am also reminded of the gravity of lives that holds us, even the sweetest of them.

This is my first exposure to Laura Kasischke. I will hunt down her other 7 books before this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MinnesotaMind on September 2, 2013
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Kasischke is massively talented and this collection is a blazing arena for her dexterous verbal play.

What I love about this book is how Kasischke keeps one foot in reality and the other on the accelerator of her imagination. Unlike, say, Ashbery who's modern verse usually leaves me more unhinged and confused than aflame, Kasischke manages to keep space and her experiences in the chains of her language; but what a beautiful prisoner they make.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ffrode on March 9, 2013
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Laura Kasischke's Space, In Chains is a masterpiece. These intuitive/counterintuitive poems are scary, beautiful, astounding, moving, surprising, heartstopping, sad, trancendent, dark, enlightening and entertaining. Almost every poem has lines that meet Houseman's definition of poetry (cut myself shaving). I forced (more like asked, really, and then just read them) my youngest son, who doesn't subscribe to "the arts" willingly, to listen to a couple of poems because they were filled with lines that demanded to shared, to be read outloud, and he was amazed and enjoyed them, as in "What!?" Kasischke has long been a masterful poet, but this collection well deserves every accolade it has received.
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