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The Caged Owl: New & Selected Poems Paperback – April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556591772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556591778
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The constraints of personal narrative are stretched to their limits in this summation from Orr, an editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia, as his poems are often based on tragic experiences occurring to those close to him. Orr's archetypal subject in the new poems and selections from six previous collections (including City of Salt and We Must Make a Kingdom of It) is fratricide. As a child, Orr accidentally shot and killed his young brother in a hunting accident. In "Gathering the Bones Together," his speaker describes the experience in a trademark clenched, almost self-flagellatingly declarative style: "I was twelve when I killed him; I felt my own bones wrench from my body." "A Litany" returns to the subject: "I remember him falling beside me, the dark stain already seeping across his parka hood I remember screaming and running the half mile to our house." And the experience is echoed by the poet's agonized critique, "To My Father, Dying": "Where is your scorn now? Where your jaggedness, old antagonist?... Your handsome face gone slack..." For Orr, even a young daughter's bloodying herself seems fair game for a poem, as when, "against admonishment, my daughter balanced on the couch back, fell and cut her mouth." There are some attempts at relieving the gloom, as in "Best" "To live and love is best" or "A Shelf Is a Ledge," where a volume of Darwin "screams in the dark: Survive! Survive!" Still, the threnody of titles here, like "Song of the Invisible Corpse in the Field" and "Song: Early Death of the Mother," makes for a consistently mournful stance that, perhaps purposefully, does not advance linguistically or emotionally.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Gregory Orr is the author of ten books of poetry, four collections of criticism, and a memoir that was selected by Publishers Weekly as a "Best Book of the Year." The former poetry editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review, Orr teaches at the University of Virginia and lives in Charlottesville.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Orr's collection here covers his entire body of work, from the brilliant Burning the Empty Nests to more recent, unpublished work, in an edition that is top notch in every way. Check out Orr's nonfiction writing as well: both The Blessing and Poetry as Survival are must-reads for those interested in the artistic process and the significant meaning that poetry can have in our daily lives. Stunning.
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1 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
there are so many better poets out there-- Sharon Olds for example
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