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The Desires of Letters Paperback – April 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


This book is such a perfect fantasy. It is an homage to Bernadette Mayer s The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters. But as it is written by Laynie Browne, it is a different book. And yet it is just as transformative and all that I loved so much about the original book its negotiation of the global and the domestic, beauty made bittersweet with annoyance and exhaustion, all that advice about how to raise a child and write at the same time is there. I ve long thought of The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters as a sort of handbook to having it all. And yet I also knew there was so much more to learn. So I am grateful to be able to also have The Desires of Letters. --Juliana Spahr

Motherhood and housewyfery and other worldly concerns of the female artist-provider ride rampant here in this bustling exploding book of prose & poem meditations. Laynie Browne tells it slant. These are the erotics of our letters (alphabetic duty) working for us as well as epistles to the world that capture & hold synaptic energy, quotidian urgency & secret delight. I feel like personism came back into the neighborhood. Onward & outward from Basra to dream realms to jaunts of imagination and friendship. One of our best writers does it again. --Anne Waldman

About the Author

Laynie Browne was born and grew up in Los Angeles. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, and Brown University and was awarded The Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative Poetry three times. She is the author of a novel and nine collections of poetry, most recently ROSEATE, POINTS OF GOLD (Dusie Press, 2010), THE DESIRES OF LETTERS (Counterpath Press, 2010), THE SCENTED FOX (Wave Books, 2007, winner of the National Poetry Series), and DAILY SONNETS (Counterpath Press, 2007). Browne is an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Arizona and one of the directors of the POG reading series in Tucson, Arizona.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpath Press (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933996196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933996196
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 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: #3,303,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Subject on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
In this wonderful response to the Bernadette Mayer classic, The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Letters, Laynie Browne manages a delicate and compelling transformation. What begins as a deliciously gossipy and slightly wistful account of the way motherhood takes one writer out of her community, ends as a celebration of a new, a deeper and more embodied, understanding of community. The author is at the top of her powers and the book is giddy (a giddiness it communicates) w/ sly wit: "I know nothing about mortality. Ask me later." Here the writing itself is a great pleasure and the interweaving of micro and macrocosm is lively and original, while (re)marking a continuation of both Mayer's work and that of Rosmarie Waldrop. Finally the book is about (and and invitation to enter) a kind of rich and rewarding time whose beauty, never celebrated enough in our culture, emerges as the result of a process of attention. "I heard what you said and am trying / To gather adequate time in which to charm time / So that it will always be my own"--gorgeous and admirable!
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