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This Connection of Everyone with Lungs: Poems (New California Poetry) [Kindle Edition]

Juliana Spahr
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Part planetary love poem, part 24/7 news flash, the hypnotic poems of This Connection of Everyone with Lungs wrap with equal, angular grace around lovers and battleships. These poems hear the tracer fire in a bird's song and capture cell division and troop deployments in the same expansive thought. They move through concentric levels of association and embrace —from the space between the hands to the mesosphere and back again—touching everything in between. The book's focus shifts between local and global, public and private, individual and social. Everything gets in: through all five senses, through windows, between your sheets, under your skin.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Innovative, incantatory, politically charged and decidedly accessible, Spahr's new volume consists of two linked prose poems, "Poem Written After Sept. 11, 2001" and the longer, more ambitious "Poem Written from November 30, 2002 to March 27, 2003." Both efforts imagine contemporary America ("how lovely and how doomed") as a polity nearly (but not quite) capable of collective action; as just one part of an interconnected globe; and as a place of isolated citizens, trying or failing to work together, especially in the protests that preceded—and failed to prevent—the war in Iraq. Like Claudia Rankine's Don't Let Me Be Lonely, Spahr's work suggests a wartime diary, though it's a diary that incorporates many rhetorical devices (anaphora, prosopopoeia, quasi-Homeric lists), along with many snippets from the daily news. In addition to two prior volumes of poetry, Spahr (Response) has published an influential critical study (Everybody's Autonomy) and co-edits a prominent journal, Chain, devoted to international mixed-genre writing. The openness, and the fire, Chain readers cherish also informs Spahr's smart, angry poetic prose. "I speak of those dead in other parts of the world who go unreported," Spahr insists, and "of those moments when we do not understand why we must remain separated." Addressing her readers as "Beloveds," Spahr returns over and over to "the unanswerable questions of political responsibility." If she finds few answers, she certainly knows how to ask. (June)
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“Spahr's sprawling paean to humankind is by turns spiritual and political, philosophical and practical. Few books attempt this sort of range, and fewer still succeed as dramatically as does this one. . . . Those who worry that contemporary poetry has lowered its sights from the peaks of previous epochs—opting for form and technique over the grandeur of the human imagination—can read this book and be heartened.”
(Seth Abramson Huffington Post 2011-12-19)

Product Details

  • File Size: 122 KB
  • Print Length: 86 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006M9RYZW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #736,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a vision of radical interconnectedness April 3, 2006
We can get a sense of the grand, encompassing scope of this book from its title alone, a phrase drawn from the opening poem: "Poem Written After September 11, 2001." This poem's central task is to articulate the model of radical interconnectedness upon which the rest of the book depends. Over its eight pages it performs this task through what essentially amounts to a slow zoom-out, from the microscopic level ("cells, the movement of cells and the division of cells") all the way out to global scope ("the space of the cities and the space of the regions and the space of the nations and the space of the continents and islands"). To call oneself a "global citizen" is slightly pollyanna-ish, but this poem still functions as a lovely vision: the way it is made elegiac by its positioning as a "post-9/11" poem feels slightly predictable, but that makes the elegy no less real. One of the more "important" poems in recent memory (let's set aside, for now, the question of whether poetry should aspire to importance).

More interesting and important still is the book's remainder, a single long poem (broken into discrete chunks), entitled "Poem Written From November 30, 2002, to March 27, 2003." I think this poem is more interesting because it's doing the thornier work of dealing with the consequences of the first poem: if "everyone with lungs" is connected in a "lovely [and] doomed" global matrix, then what does this mean? If we can successfully expand our consciousness to the point where it encompasses the whole earth as a system, then what does it mean when part of that system (including but not limited to "our part") is attempting to kill another part of that system (including but not limited to "their part")?
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4.0 out of 5 stars The radical alienation of the radically connected. September 8, 2014
This is a manic and expansive book of poetry--Spahr will start a poem and she seems to mad-dash through its implications and twists. It has an incantatory quality as well reminding one of Stein. The book starts with "Poem Written After Sept. 11, 2001" and the longer "Poem Written from November 30, 2002 to March 27, 2003" which build on a politics and poetics of dealing with ones space in a political and natural environment which seems beyond the individual. The latter poem is the majority of the book, and spans several dates. Spahr seems to re wrestling with the radical alienation that ironically emerges from the realization of radical connectedness. The book leaves one a bit breathless at the end, and while some areas seem some steeped in formal rhetoric that it reads polemically, the effect is largely effective.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Together and Singly July 29, 2013
By Alice
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A non-brittle response to and reflection upon the individual's place and culpability within larger systems and events. Stunningly told with a ghost-heart: at once scary and vulnerable.
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I like poetry, but not this April 6, 2008
I read this book for my Writers on Writing Class, and the author paid the class a visit to discuss the book. Here is my response:

Juliana Spahr compiled poetry for her collection, this connection of everyone with lungs that is part creative non-fiction and part political statement. Not including repetition, the poetry follows no form or scheme (except for line breaks/double spacing here and there) and the collection literally consists of two poems. The first, "Poem Written After September 11, 2001," is a single piece that spans eight pages. The second, "Poem Written from November 30, 2002, to March 27, 2003," spans 61 pages, but is broken up chronologically by date fifteen times. This unusual format speaks of a postmodernist approach to poetry, one that Spahr herself admits to not fully understanding. But she says, "it was the way it had to be written."
The poems in the book read less like poetry and more like a diary, or rather like an intimate conversation. This comes from the conversational, albeit unhappy, tone and the use of addressing the reader as "beloved," The conversation topic couldn't be clearer: 9/11 has emotionally shaken up Spahr, and she's against the war. This seems fair enough; this is her book and her poetry, thus she can talk about whatever she feels like. However, the constant reiteration of her position on past- and present-day politics becomes tiring. Spahr told the class, "I sometimes feel like a hammer, because I feel like I'm always hammering in my point." And in this book, she has done just that. Her repetition of words, and constant list-making, such as the list of major cities in various countries on page 54 which felt exhausting and unnecessary, seemed to be more distracting than powerful.
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