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The Good Thief: Poems (National Poetry Series) Paperback – September 1, 1988


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Howe's first collection, chosen by Margaret Atwood for the "National Poetry" series, employs a somewhat simplistic, imprecise, yet fashionable surrealism: there are strange noises in the night, birds appear as omens, dead people converse. Premonitions of doom abound, but nothing is ever told fully: "If the man has died, if the child's illness has taken a sudden/turn, if the house has burned in the middle of night/ and in winter, there is at least a kind of stopping that will/pass for peace." But we never see the house burn, feel the winter's cold, or understand the peace. In the best poems (e.g., "Encounter," "The Beast") Howe hints at large emotional issues that, if explored more fully, might produce some powerful poetry. Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Apology
Bad Weather
The Beast
Death, The Last Visit
Encounter
From Nowhere
The Good Reason For Our Forgetting
Gretel, From A Sudden Clearing
Grosvenor Road
Guests
How Many Times
Isaac
Keeping Still
Letter To My Sister
Lullaby
Mary's Argument
The Meadow
Menses
The Mountain
My Father's Oak
Part Of Eve's Discussion
Providing For Each Other
Recovery
Retribution
Song Of The Spinster
Sorrow
The Split
A Thin Smattering Of Applause
The Unforgiven
Veteran's Day
What Belongs To Us
What The Angels Left
The Wise Men
Without Devotion
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

Howe's haunting lyricism lifts the back shades on the familial and the mythic in poems that bespeak a hard-earned compassion amid the world's chaffing. -- The Boston Phoenix

Marie Howe's poetry doesn't fool around . . . . [The poems] transcend their own dark roots. -- Margaret Atwood

[Howe] has stolen from domesticity not only the trappings of mysticism but the wisdom of experience. -- The Partisan Review
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Product Details

  • Series: National Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Persea Books; 1st edition (September 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892551275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892551279
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Larry R. Kaplun on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Marie Howe's first book of poems, "The Good Thief", is a splendid debut, presenting the maturity, courage and self-awareness that will sustain her role as neccessary reading for years to come. The compassion of her poetry easily puts her in the category of poets, Dorianne Laux and Sharon Olds. Fine examples of how the author achieves such beauty, is seen in "Death, the last visit", "Veteran's Day", "Menses", and others.

In her sophmore collection, the author surpasses the accomplishment of "Thief" with "What The Living Do", a collection of elegies dedicated to her brother, John, who died of AIDS. Over a dozen customer reviews praise her second book, on amazon.com. It is an absolute reward to purchase and revel in both of Marie Howe's collections.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sparse, beautiful writing--the theme of redemption is potent in nearly every poem--everyone must read this!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
I went through two bookshelves of poetry at my local bookstore, and two hours later came away with just this one book. I read a poem each night before going to sleep. The writing is intimate and airy, refreshing when life has become too narrow.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Dimitrov on June 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've read many books of contemporary poetry and few have excited, frightened and compelled me to keep reading the way this one did. Marie Howe is a true mystic and everything she writes feels as if taken down, as if she is listening to a voice only she can hear, a voice that has everything to tell us about our lives.
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