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Then, Suddenly (Pitt Poetry Series) Paperback – October 15, 1999


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Then, Suddenly (Pitt Poetry Series) + Copperhead (Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series) + 100 Notes on Violence (Sawtooth Poetry Prize: 2009)
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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (October 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822957094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822957096
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A determined, smart-alecky poet eyes her reader constantly through this cranky, quirky third collection, sizing us up to the point of exhaustion: "I'm tired of the dark forest of this book/ and the little trail of bread crumbs I have/ to leave so readers.../ can...follow along." Emanuel often has the tone of a teacher who just knows the class won't get her point. She nevertheless varies her lines and her forms adroitly (if conventionally); piles on gorgeous images; celebrates American masters ("Walt, I Salute You!") and mentorsAonly to mockingly renounce narrative, content, emotion (especially emotion) in order to get at a constantly restated goal: "Then, suddenly.../ I am gone, and all that's left is a voice.../ ...gobbling up the landscape,/ an airborne cloud of selfhood giving a poetry reading/ in which, Reader, I have made our paths cross!" To say that such pronouncements sound stiff and a tad ridiculous at this late theoretical date is hardly necessary, especially when Emanuel fails to back them up with splinterings of the self-in-language that ring true. But fans of Deborah Garrison and other chroniclers of the collisons between the bourgeois writing life ("Outwardly, my life is one of irreproachable tedium") and desires for walks on the wild side will appreciate crackly poems like "Dressing the Parts": "So, here we are,/ I am a kind of diction// I can walk around in/ clothed in six-inch heels// of arrogation and scurrility./ And what are you// wearing? Is it those boxer/ things again? I hope it is// those boxer things/ and nothing else." (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Lynn Emanuel’s agile poems in Then Suddenly— are often about the construction of self in language, and,  indeed, the act of writing poetry itself. Thier sustained reflexivity, verbal inventiveness and associative wittiness connect her work to the New York School of John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch, and through them, to the great Modernist precursor, Gertrude Stein.”
--Women's Review of Books


“The poems in Then, Suddenly— require a reader’s willingness to connect the dots of voice and story, and to watch oneself connect the dots, but Emanuel makes the willingness surprisingly easy to give.  She may eschew feeling, but in this she is somewhat ingenuous, rewarding her reader’s attentions throughout with vivid, indeed “moving” metaphors.”
--Boston Review


“Lynn Emanuel’s poems have a rare power: they connect to the world through estrangement. Here is a restless, seeking intelligence, finding itself in beautiful language that makes the reader feel at home in sounds and cadences and figures, even while the homelessness of each of the poet’s perceptions adds to the poem’s force. This is a moving, challenging book.”
—Eavan Boland


“The trajectory of Lynn Emanuel’s dazzling career has been in the direction of self-consciousness; Then, Suddenly— questions even further the relationship between writer and reader:  a tango, a coupling, a gamble in which the author seems to hold all the cards. But not so fast, say the dead, who confound and complicate her intent; Not so fast, says time. Or faster, haunting these sophisticated, deeply knowing poems into troubled life.”

—Mark Doty



“There is some Eliot here, some Stein. Emanuel carries self-consciousness to the shrieking edge—and almost falls in. Well, she does fall in. She is a master of the negative, but she doesn’t sigh in boredom; she yells in pain. Her vision is original; so is her language. A terrific book!”

—Gerald Stern



“A determined, smart-alecky poet eyes her reader constantly through this cranky, quirky, third collection, sizing us up . . . she nevertheless varies her lines and her forms adroitly; piles on gorgeous images [and] celebrates masters and mentors.”

Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Canty on February 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
An amazing book of poems, or a book of amazing poems, or both. The bongo-madness rhythms of the voice linger in your head after you put the book down. Serious without being solemn, playful without being silly. I read this book first time through in a single sitting, and when I was done I knew that I had started somewhere and ended up somewhere else, though the precise names for either place eluded me. A very interesting, very smart, very pleasurable book.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Murphy on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
"~Glad to see someone else (and Kevin Canty, no less) thinks this book is good. I read the first stanza and immediately knew it was for keeps. It's a book of poems about a book of poems, about an author of a book of poems, about the aboutness of an author making a book of poems."~ happen up front, center stage.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I weren't lazy, I'd copy some of her poems into the "review." I encourage you to buy her work, and you can google it as well to get a taste. She expresses something deep and does so in ways that truly speak to the poetic person within me. Truly a pleasure.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I saw some wonderful cagy things going on in Emanuel's first two books. But now comes THEN, SUDDENLY, which deconstructs itself word by word as it goes along, and in a very transparent manner. (The everyperson's answer to Jorie Graham will have to wait.) THEN, TO TOP IT ALL OFF the poems are flat. The life seems to have been revised right out of them. "When the reader's radar tracked me down" Emanuel writes. What happened? The answer is, You thought about it too much and the result is stiff, self-conscious poetry.
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