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The Auroras: New Poems Hardcover – March 20, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1ST edition (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062088483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062088482
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Poems…full of magic and light…Essential for readers of contemporary poetry.” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Read these poems slowly because this kind of writing does not happen overnight… THE AURORAS is luxurious whether dealing with the ordinary or the magnificent.” (Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books)

From the Back Cover

An exciting, long-awaited collection from the National Book Award finalist, a poet of wild imagination and formidable accomplishment

David St. John's new collection of poetry, The Auroras, is the most provocative, adventurous, and stylistically eclectic work of his career. Composed as a triptych of three distinct movements, it opens with a sequence of urgent, subversive, sensually charged poems, crackling with desire.

In the center section, St. John returns to the California landscapes of his youth, in both the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These poems are quiet and measured, yet often psychologically troubling.

The final section of The Auroras is constructed as an album of philosophical and aesthetic meditations, all haunted by the force of an emerging sense of mortality. In this collection, even the most compelling emanations of light—artistic, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual—are inevitably framed by impending darkness.

The beauty, music, and artistry of David St. John's poetry have been long admired; now The Auroras reveals the extent and breadth of his masterful poetic achievement.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Fitzpatrick on April 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a breakthrough book for a very accomplished poet with a long career of accolades. He inhabits his familiar voice, but on a different level entirely. Lyrical, mystical, surprising, and full of beauty.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Myth, history and geography weave together so in the course of one slim volume, we readers travel from California to Paris. We join the author in what feels like a Homeric journey meeting iconic characters: the crucifix polishing, Pier Paolo, an ancient master blues guitarist, alluring women named Quicksilver and Selene. As in most myths, one doesn’t know if one is meeting a god or goddess in human form. If so, the tranformational implications are certain although sometimes deadly. The extent to which the poet and therefore the reader will be affected is an inherent tension underlying many poems in The Auroras. There are three seemingly oracular questions which he asks in the poem, The Swan which for me form the core of this book.
How can I keep my life luminous & how can I keep the day delivered?
Where does my constant taste for evasion end & the alter begin?
Where does the word become the Word & why does the flesh remain flesh?
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Format: Hardcover
I found this a mixed bag. The poet seems to have developed an off-putting (to me at least) verse formatting style which I found continually and irritatingly distracted from what the poems were really doing. This style consists of (with rare exceptions) omitting all punctuation but capitalizing the beginning of each line, using extra blank spaces within lines, and writing "&" instead of "and".

[Digression: I'm aware that this latter feature is ubiquitous in contemporary verse, and where the heck did it come from? And what the heck is it supposed to accomplish? Convey that the the poet is speaking so urgently that he doesn't have time to write three characters instead of one? Or rather, type three characters instead of one, since one effect of the practice is to fix the reader's attention firmly on the fact that the poet is writing the poem on a machine rather than composing by handwriting or orally. Maybe this is some misguided attempt to give an atmosphere of "spontaneity" in a machine age, but what in turn is the point of that? Isn't "and" just as spontaneous as "&"? And what's the value of spontaneity in poetry anyway? If spontaneity were valuable in itself, farts would smell sweet. End of digression.]

Anyway, I find all this diminishes what could be some interesting poems. The cummings-like use of internal spaces as quasi-musical rests is now old hat and always has seemed to me a technique of dubious value: its effect here reminds me of how the boss making his annual speech at the company Christmas party will punctuate it with long pauses to emphasize that what he has just said is Sincere and Important.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Siwsan G. on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
He's done it again! Nothing I can say is as eloquent as the book itself! Can't recommend it highly enough.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barry G Govenor on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Purchased Auroras for book discussion group.

Will keep to re-read & re-read.

St. John's use of the English language and his poetic constructions set a challenge for me while entertaining me with the music of the line
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