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Comment: 2004 - Paperback - Used - Like New - - Minor shelf-wear on cover. Otherwise, volume un-read with no underlining or highlighting. - -
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The Perishing: Poems Paperback – July 17, 2004

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The follow-up to National Book Award finalist The Pilot Star Elegies shows the neo-Romantic poet tilting at more difficult targets, his traditional forms creating a sense of unease rather than Santos's more familiar wistful resignation. The primary movement of this fifth book is a see-saw between an angst-ridden, but calm, epistolary search ("how good the sun feels in its absence") and the eruption of violence from without: "the epic/ Bosch-like register of death and human suffering." As one poem paints a simple scene of the poet's teenage son, "his radio headphones still on," the triptych that follows ruminates on the deaths of loved ones, and a long poem imagines Pol Pot tracing a lineage of genocide through Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Tamerlane. Somewhat more obscure verses follow, though Santos's lyric chops are still well in evidence in lines such as " a moon-lit runoff/ Less like spilled water than the dispossessing ghost/ Of water sluicing down the gutters and away." In expanding his concerns to the social and political, Santos oddly tends towards insularity. But if this book is less coherent and accessible than Pilot Star, its promise is far greater, showing the poet striving toward a more complex understanding of his chosen medium: "a lost/ Cuneiform of burnished signs whose meanings/ We've somehow unknowingly become."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Perhaps inspired by the events of 9/11, Santos follows up National Book Award nominee The Pilot-Star Elegies with a work that memorializes victims everywhere. In these 30 often difficult poems, he muses on individuals who have died-both actual and imagined, historical and personal, ranging from victims of World War II to those who died in Afghanistan to members of his own family and even to literary and mythological victims like Penelope and Icarus. The title poem, which establishes the book's theme of death and rebirth, exemplifies Santos's many-layered style: "the time has come to imagine ourselves all over again as we'd been before we heard that sound [of death] and recognized it." Writing in free verse and using slant rhyme, Santos combines a playful with an elegiac tone often relying on paradox, unusual line breaks, and typography to make his point. The most evocative poem, "Landscape with a Missing Figure," alludes to the Bruegel painting of the fall of Icarus as well as to Auden's poem "Musee des Beaux Arts." Though he doesn't actually mention Bruegel, Icarus, or Auden, Santos is able to suggest their presence. A beautifully executed work; recommended for public and academic libraries.
Diane Scharper, Indiana State Lib., Indianapolis
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 84 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (July 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325768
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,063,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Santos views the present-day world inhabited by seeming aliens--an exiled military ruler sips coffee in Paris, a traveler listens to two men fighting outside his hotel window, a writer reviews his empty life, a mother returns home after having moved out, to name but a few. This poetic collection throws out a lasso and ropes a world full of violence and beauty, an illusive but particular landscape that includes political tyrant's collective vision of creating walls, that is, monuments to themselves, out of human bodies, as if they were themselves not a part of the human race.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Santos for about 39 years now, and I must say this book contains the second, third, eigth, tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth best poems I've read in that time. Actually I've become so familiar with Santos that before I opened the book I already knew it would be full of poems. Or should I say brimming with poetry. Perhaps Mr. Santos could help me make that decision as he is apparently America's greatest master of the English language. But I digress. In "The Perishing: Poems", Sherod paints a portrait of the shadows that haunt our souls, the monsters we keep hidden away in a box under our collective beds, and the dirty diapers of our hearts that give us a collective rash on our hearts' little tushes. I must conclude this review by saying that Sherod Santos probably owns a poetry machine that he invented to write brilliant poetry, but that will come in good time my friend. A word is like a mouse that lives under your floorboards, and the house of Santos's head must be teeming with mice, such that he has to lure them out with the pen and paper on which he writes his poems. And liberty, and justice for all. And in conclusion, Sherod Santos must have a poetry machine he invented to write poetry for him.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been reading Santos for about 39 years now, and I must say this book contains the second, third, eigth, tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth best poems I've read in that time. Actually I've become so familiar with Santos that before I opened the book I already knew it would be full of poems. Or should I say brimming with poetry. Perhaps Mr. Santos could help me make that decision as he is apparently America's greatest master of the English language. But I digress. In "The Perishing: Poems", Sherod paints a portrait of the shadows that haunt our souls, the monsters we keep hidden away in a box under our collective beds, and the dirty diapers of our hearts that give us a collective rash on our hearts' little tushes. I must conclude this review by saying that Sherod Santos probably owns a poetry machine that he invented to write brilliant poetry, but that will come in good time my friend. A word is like a mouse that lives under your floorboards, and the house of Santos's head must be teeming with mice, such that he has to lure them out with the pen and paper on which he writes his poems. And liberty, and justice for all. And in conclusion, Sherod Santos must have a poetry machine he invented to write poetry for him.
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