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Weighing Light: Poems (New Criterion Series) Hardcover – September 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: New Criterion Series
  • Hardcover: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; First edition. edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566636671
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566636674
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,940,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Brock's understated fluency in investing ordinary moments with 'alchemic light' makes comparison to Larkin inevitable...Like Larkin, Brock actually has a sense of humour.... Humour is dangerous for a poet because many people see it as a lack of seriousness... [But] Brock is a most serious poet and one whose career, on the basis of Weighing Light, must now be followed with close attention. (David C. Ward Pn Review)

Brock is out to grapple with the mess, not to say wreckage, of human relationships.... Weighing Light is a book of clear premises, profitably stuck to and...departed from. (Poetry ()

[Geoffrey Brock and A.E. Stallings] write in traditional English metrics with a naturalness and ease, an unshowy virtuosity, which makes their poetry a pleasure to read.... Brock's [is a] haunting, original, and intellectual voice... Figurative clarity leads to troubling ambiguity, and the invitation to think is one we can't help but accept. Such is Brock's considerable skill. His voice, woven in the mesh of his verse, has an Old World authority. (Mark Jarman Hudson Review)

I suggest you purchase Weighing Light. (Amylou Wilson Northwest Arkansas Times)

Geoffrey Brock's poems are delightful in ways which are all too rare nowadays. I am grateful for their freshness of attack, the play and interplay of their words, and their speaking voice, which talks so often in the key of rueful comedy. (Richard Wilbur)

I admire Weighing Light intensely. Irony without bitterness, observations of startling freshness and exactitude, the homeliness of life caught in the quick, a cool heat, a chaste and tightly wrought architecture of sound: Geoffrey Brock has compressed all these virtues into his poems. They may weigh light, but they strike hard. (Rosanna Warren)

Block’s keen perceptions—all the more striking for the expertly cadenced music of his language—will be long remembered. (Poetry Daily)

About the Author

Geoffrey Brock's poems have appeared in the Hudson Review, Poetry, PN Review, New England Review, and 32 Poems, as well as in several anthologies. He has held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Disaffections, his translation of Cesare Pavese's poetry, was named one of the "Best Books of 2003" by the Los Angeles Times and received both the PEN Center U.S.A. Translation Award and the MLA's Lois Roth Translation Award. He has also translated books by Roberto Calasso and Umberto Eco. Mr. Brock earned an M.F.A. from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, and he is now on the faculty of the Programs in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas. His website is www.geoffreybrock.com.

More About the Author

Geoffrey Brock is an American poet and translator. His first book of poems, "Weighing Light," received the New Criterion Poetry Prize and appeared in 2005. His poems have appeared in many anthologies, including "Best American Poetry 2007," "Pushcart Prize XXXIV," and "The Swallow Anthology of New American Poetry." His awards include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Cullman Center Fellowship from the New York Public Library.

Brock is also a leading translator of Italian poetry and prose, having brought into English major works by Cesare Pavese, Umberto Eco, Roberto Calasso, and others. His translation of Pavese's poetry, "Disaffections," received the PEN Center USA Translation Award and the MLA's Lois Roth Award, and his translation of Eco's most recent novel, "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana," received the American Translators Association Lewis Galantiere Award. Johnathan Lethem, writing in the New York Times, called Brock's translation of "K.," Calasso's book about Kafka, "superb," and Tim Parks, writing in the New York Review of Books, called his new version of "Pinocchio," Carlo Collodi's classic Tuscan tale, "excellent."

Brock teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Translation at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where he lives with his wife, the novelist Padma Viswanathan, and their two children. His website is www.geoffreybrock.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Brown on February 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read a fair amount of contemporary poetry-nothing like comprehensively, but I do try to keep up, especially with "formal" (rhymed and/or metered) work. While there's no shortage of talent tilling this field, the poems of even the best younger formalists almost always strike me as markedly below the level of the best (to me) formalists of earlier but still modern times: Yeats, Frost, and Hardy preeminently, Housman and Larkin behind by a nose (due to a lack of size, in a couple of senses, more than quality), Wilbur and Heaney reaching this level in spots (as, perhaps less frequently still, do Ransom, Millay, Lowell, Berryman, Merrill...). Several things set these figures above and apart for me: an ability to find or invent memorably resonant subjects, a play of speech rhythms-what Frost called "sentence sounds"-across the meter, and a knack for closing a poem with a line that literally punches (or, in Yeat's figure, "clicks" shut like a jewelry box).

I've just encountered a new book of poems that seems to me to be graced with all three of these virtues: an unusually worthy prize-winner called "Weighing Light," by Geoffrey Brock. A number of poems in the book have, for me, the all-too-rare tang of work by the earlier greats I love. In the sonnet "And Day Brought Back My Night," for instance, a strong premise is fully lived up to in an execution at once lucid and ingenious, leading to an ending whose timing no comedian (or executioner) could improve on:

It was so simple: you came back to me

And I was happy. Nothing seemed to matter

But that. That you had gone away from me

And lived for days with him--it didn't matter.

That I had been left to care for our old dog

And house alone--couldn't have mattered less!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Michael Albert on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first came to Geoffrey Brock through Poetry Daily, when they printed "And Day Brought Back My Night." I immediately glommed onto the fact that he was a member of the modern Rhyme-and-Meter gang and doing it superbly. I, for one, cannot do it without lapsing into either satire or wannabe-Wordsworth. Not Brock (and several others, including Robert Crawford). This sonnet is so straightforward, so natural, so conversational, so unselfconsciously self-doubting, that the fact that it is an Italian sonnet, conforming to the rules of line, meter, and rhyme, yes, but also the structure of the argument, could easily wisk by without notice in a reading. I immediately sent off for the book and was not disappointed. Here is a writer who lifts the personal to the level of art and, once they're settled, makes them talk to each other openly and honestly -- like friends who once had a big fight, parted company, and have come back together for the sake of the friendship.
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By William Knott on March 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
every poem in the book is worthwhile. I loved most the short epigrammatic pieces, but the sonnets were first-rate also-- Brock is also a great translator-- his verse renditions in the FSG 20th Century Italian Poetry (which he edited) are magnificent.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sara Bullard on November 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
To see everything and then have to choose what colors, flavors, feelings, sounds and ooops, the things forgotten -- after stirring through every choice, Geoffrey Brock takes the exact words he needs and puts them in the exact order and gives back a poem that will make you bring your fist to your heart, your mouth, your eyes and finally, fling it out into the air. Ah!!! I see it, too!

If you read his poems deeply and see what he sees, you know you're in the proximity of something great and dear. There are poems you'll have to memorize, ones you'll have to call up a friend and read, and others you'll just read over and over again, for comfort. The word "indispensable" is, this time, the exact word for this book. Buy it. It's too beautiful to miss.
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