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The Stenographer's Breakfast (Barnard New Women Poets Series) Paperback – April 30, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Barnard New Women Poets Series
  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Edition edition (April 30, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807068179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807068175
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,085,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In her first volume, McCue introduces the figure of a stenographer who is a rapt and obedient instrument of the dictator's will, a faithful conduit for the lives she transcribes: "How can I help/ loving the chronological/ seductions of file and box?/Imagine the alternative chaos." When the stenographer reaches the third stage of her work, translation, she finds herself part of a process "full of loopholes where truth can wriggle free," attempting to construct "antidotes to the chaos of language loose in the air . . . and secretly thriving on the distortion therein." Complementing this defining progression (from ordered obedience to chaotic liberation) is the poet's emergence from isolation ("Truth be told, I can't just can't muster up/ how I get to you, so I reach around corners and become inclined/ to love what's inorganic"). As winner of the 1991 Barnard New Women Poets Prize, McCue joins the distressingly small group of women who are awarded coveted first-book prizes--one of very few avenues of publication open to new poets. This volume, with its rich structure and rewarding verse, is deservedly honored.
-Margaret K. Powell, Yale Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Format: Paperback
I have not found a book of poetry that touches upon issues of silence, transcription, stenography, and the secretarial role with such political insight. Lightly handled, the heartbreak of silence within a proscribed role is unfurled and presented insight, clarity and sensitivity. Poems such as "Astronauts Having Coffee" immerse themselves in questions of perspective. The overall conceit: stenographer as semi-silenced poet shakes open realizations of how occupation presses women into being but cogs in a larger wheel; and how silence is both consensual and proscribed. Questions of language, meaning, coding, and translation are played with as well. McCue is an insightful poet, able to arpeggio across questions of power and meaning with aplomb and virtuosity. A sleeper of a poetry book. A must-read.
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The Stenographer's Breakfast (Barnard New Women Poets Series)
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