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What Kind (Wesleyan Poetry Series) Paperback – June 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


“What do you get when you cross Flannery O’Connor with Gerard Manley Hopkins? Something sprung of rhythm, fierce of feeling, dappled down and doubled over, whistled out of terror and intelligence. Welcome to the work of Martha Zweig.”―Heather McHugh, The Boston Review


“An American Original: out of our adult vocabulary of 30,000 words, this poet has cobbled together a new language. Spoken by rain, staircase newels, the dear dead, it clarifies just enough to startle our way of apprehending the world…” (Steve Orlen, author of This Particular Eternity)|“Martha Zweig writes a marvelous sort of Nonsense―poetry that moves wherever you wish it and wherever it wishes to move you. The lines are animate. The metaphors have a temper. I can think of no other poet who writes with more willingness to let truths stand and fall down on their own. And so the poems in What Kind are very wise, and they are beautifully made.” (Carol Frost, author of Love and Scorn)

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Product Details

  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; 1st edition (June 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819566268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819566263
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 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: #4,335,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reginald Shepherd on February 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Martha Zweig's abrupt, startling poems have the quality of fairy tales no one has yet read, but which we somehow remember when we first encounter them. In a poem like "Rumpelstiltskin Recounts His Formative Years" we learn of the youth of a character who traditionally has no past and no future. In most of the poems this sense of fable is not so literal, but the sense of essential, though often broken, story and scene is strong and consistent, even relentless: the poems sleep "in the very wolf's yellow breath." One of Zweig's poems is entitled "Primordial," and there is indeed a primordial, elemental quality to her poems. They engage in digging down through the roots and loam (these poems are deeply rooted in natural landscapes that are at once spare and luxuriant), in a stripping down to the newels and posts of "the wooden narratives": "hurl it, haul it all & set it/high to dry some other time." These poems are dense and intense, giving us the pith of event and occasion, the full feel of things with no extraneous matter. Both rough-hewn wood and glittering gemstone (hard and resistant in either case), Zweig's poetry fascinates in its gnarled, wayward syntax (as she writes in "Ducks," "I do love a snag!"), its simultaneously halting and propulsive rhythms, its punning and wordplay and absorption in sound: "Here's how the damp black wood out back there/drudges to this day." To paraphrase a few of Zweig's poems, she flavors her chaos with sweet reason and rough approximate love, doing and undoing somewhats and whatnots, adding her own lyrics to accompany the rain: "I knew him then &/there and now: those syllables."
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What Kind (Wesleyan Poetry Series)
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