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The Lyrics: Poems Paperback – June 26, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; First Edition edition (June 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555974724
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555974725
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 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: #1,426,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her latest collection, the prolific Howe continues her career-long pursuit of moral clarity and spiritual insight: What is a poet but a person/ Who lives on the ground/ Who laughs and listens// Without pretension of knowing/ Anything, driven by the lyric's/ Quest for rest that never/ (God willing) will be found? Diaristic and plainspoken, these seven sequences are welcoming and immediately likable, especially The Days, which finds Howe at her most apothegmatic (A seed can be stamped on/ And still want to live) and declamatory (This is such an old story, listen./ The poor are hard-working/ And the rich get more through talking). Firm-voiced passages like these provide refreshing disruption from occasional flatness, a hazard due in large part to Howe's frequent preference here for relatively brief, simple sentences, most of which avoid syntactic complication and many of which are broken into short, lilting, end-stopped lines. But if this simplicity of structure grows fatiguing, it also gives the poems a humble, balladlike character well-suited to Howe's down-to-earth metaphysics: So pray to the toilet, flush./ Pray to the floor, stay clean./...To the cow and the hen, thank you/ For all you have given/ To us workers of the world. (July)
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Praise for On the Ground:

"This is a book that teaches us to be ecstatic about poetry; in it we hear the frayed and difficult passages of our thought and place as humans, our restive worry and our longing for peaceful cohabitation with all others. On the Ground is an essential book for our times." --Judges' Citation, Griffin International Poetry Prize Finalist
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elevate Difference on July 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Fanny Howe's poetry collection, The Lyrics, includes poems that thrive on the lyric poem's conventions; the poems include both the personal world of the speaker, as well as the universal world. Each poem is also a lyric by itself; each lyric comprises The Lyrics spoken about in the title. It is not uncommon for Howe to include first person plurals; the result is a collection that addresses the emotional journey of not just its speakers, but the people around the speakers.

If ever there was a poem serving as an atlas or guide for this collection's reader, it is the poem "28." from the first section of the book, "The Days." This poem represents the journey that the reader, speaker(s) and poet are taking. Howe writes:

A day is a freely given poem; it can be short or long.
Contradiction, coincidence.

An emotional experience.
Perseverance through hell.

A series of events you must not forget.
Twelve sunsets, twenty nine dawns, all in one.

An epiphany.
How long your hopes last

Until the next poem.

This poem explains both the terrain of the poem's conception and focus, as well as the terrain of human experience. The poems in this collection deal with "contradiction" and "coincidence" and how each "epiphany" leads to another "series of events." The poems are short, but together they make one large poem. These "lyrics" are subtitled with numbers, as each forms the bulk of a larger poem. As the aforementioned poem is contained under "The Days," it is both its own poem, as well as a piece of a larger poem. The lyrical poem's "emotional experience" is what drives the collection's pieces, but, oftentimes, the poems circle around subject matter just as humans see the world.
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