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Tryst Paperback – April 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Gleeful and gorgeous, delighted by puns and other wordplay (including words from French, Latin and Italian), Estes's fast-paced free verse, rich with internal rhyme, takes rightful pride in the beauties it flaunts and explains. Her fourth collection finds, for recurrent motifs, saints' lives, medieval manuscripts, gold leaf and the alphabet: "hearts bloom / out of Ds like lamb chop sleeves / in the script of the fifteenth-century / scribe"; in a gilded Book of Hours, "the letters / have fallen out of the words and lie / scattered on the ground." Each deft poem weaves together multiple topics--some art-historical, others autobiographical--through chains of homonyms and knotty analogies: "Take Cover" skates from the French "couvre feu, cover the fire" (the origin for our word "curfew") to disheveled bedcovers and 1950s-style duck-and-cover drills. Though Estes revels in European reference (Dante, Trieste, Greta Garbo), her matchless hunger for experience makes her indelibly American: "how the tongue / keeps lapping the world's / loot," she exclaims, "even in the 499th lap / of the Indy 500." The arts--from Cimabue's painting to haute cuisine--are for Estes never mere luxuries; rather, the arts, and our pride in them, give us the only effective countermeasures to loneliness, helplessness and serious pain. And pain--remembered or feared--is always somewhere: "So Near Yet So Far" connects a lunar eclipse, a film starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, a concept from high-energy plasma physics and "the necklace / of pearls my father bought my mother / for their forty-fifth wedding / anniversary, which she made him / take back."

--Stephen Burt, New York Times Book Review


"Her timing and her ever-inhibited instinct for poetic shape are the triumphs of a first-rate musical intelligence. Angie Estes is Fred Astaire and Ginger too: backwards in high heels, forward on rollerskates, never have classy and sexy been better matched." (Linda Gregerson)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Oberlin; 1st edition (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932440355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932440358
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 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: #1,623,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gastroparesis and GERD Sufferer on August 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
Estes's Tryst is an amazing work, the hallmark of which is the joy that radiates from every in language, joy in love, joy in popular culture, joy in the classics, joy in life. Estes can make you laugh and make you cry. She can baffle one minute and enlighten you the next. She plays games with her readers, and she doesn't mind appearing even a little foolish herself as she leads us gleefully through her meditations on experience, art, music, books, history, and everything that has caught her very keen eye.

The wealth of detail Estes brings to her work is rewarding and satisfying, but her ability to play with these details, to join, compare, juggle those things that seem dissimilar bears the mark of genius. Probably even more compelling is Estes's tone, her relationship with her reader. Do you remember that epigraph from The Great Gatsby? Fitzgerald writes,

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
If you can bounce high, bounce for her too,
Till she cry "Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!"

Estes is that high-bouncing lover. We, her readers, watch her stunning performance, we see her work feverishly to please us as she reaches for the heavens. And we are overwhelmed. We want her. We crave her poems. We want to immerse ourselves in her world. Her joy and her energy and her willingness to exert herself so generously compel us irresistibly.

I hope Estes keeps looking, living, and writing. We will be well rewarded by every poem she offers us. I eagerly await her next book, and I unreservedly recommend Tryst.
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