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Windfall: New and Selected Poems (Pitt Poetry Series) Paperback – March 2, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Houses, flowers, dogs, foxes, country music, families, poverty, love, anger and grief are only some of the subjects that this book fills out with closely observed details of day-to-day life. Evoking the landscape and struggles both of town and country in the Appalachian region, this collection includes poems from among Anderson's first three books, along with new work. Poems from Years That Answer focus on learning and growing up, before and after a father's death. Those from Cold Comfort expand that personal outlook to take in the history of the poet's family and the hard life of West Virginia mining towns, while the choices from A Space Filled with Moving contain more extended meditations, including what may be Anderson's finest poem, "Long Story," with its shocking final stanza. With an understated irony, as well as a broad compassion sometimes moved to anger, Anderson's poems reflect an intimate and loving knowledge of the world they evoke, and earn their frustrations honestly. Taken as a whole, however, the poems are largely limited to themes and emotional terrain handled more memorably in the work of other poets, and Anderson's cautious presentations often stall in overly mundane language. This is most apparent in the new poems, which are weighted toward the vicissitudes of academic and artistic life. While it may still be possible to write memorable verse about dogs, arts colonies and European vacations, the poems here lack originality and compelling insight. (Apr.)
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Review

“Anderson's poems have a gentle feel but contain a deep intensity; they move slowly, quietly, and need to be absorbed over time. . . . There is an exploration here of the heart that is rare, desperately needed in today’s world, and universal to us all.”
--Lambda Book Report


“Maggie Anderson has been a poet of energy and wisdom, of conscience and  courage, since her earliest work. In this new collection I am particularly  impressed by the cropped force of poems like Knife, The Sleep Writer, and the Black Dog poems, which chillingly convey private and public worlds of terror  and control. Caught between the oppositions of decorum and lawlessness,  indolence and rigor, spiced by secrecy and appetite, Anderson is a poet who  confronts loss and dread and, like the black dog, despite the grey fog, stands up.”
--Alicia Suskin Ostriker
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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (March 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822957191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822957195
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,474,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Allison on February 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Maggie Anderson's poems collected in Windfall are a masterful collection. I had the honor of hearing her read several of the poems, and her flat-toned, Appalachian voice really changes the more lyrical verse itself into something strikingly real. Ms. Anderson is amazing, and this collection will leave its impact.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "considine597" on January 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
In a couple of poems in Windfall: New and Selected Poems, Maggie Anderson uses the analogy of pearls to describe objects in those poems. As I thought about her collection of poetry, the analogy of gems and precious stones on a gold chain was the first thing that came to mind.
The poems aren't like pearls because they vary in subject and style. The jewel that hangs prominently on the center of the chain is "Heart Fire". The poem, written in memory of a young man who took his life, vividly tells how everything Ms. Anderson sees reminds her of his physical attributes. It is an amethyst because of its richness in color. "Knife" and other poems in which Ms. Anderson discusses her fear of her father are marquise-cut diamonds that have points to pierce the bubble of a peaceful world. The Black Dog poems, especially "Black Dog Goes to Art Colony", are black onyx stones that counter the sharp diamonds with their smoothness and warmth.
But "Literary" aptly described my overall feelings as I read this book. Ms Anderson said that when she read poems as a young woman, she struggled to understand what they meant. Some of the poems in Windfall seemed beyond my mental grasp because I don't have an academic background in poetry. Since I also am unfamiliar with many of the plants Ms. Anderson mentions in her nature poetry, I saw holes in the landscapes that she was painting with her words. Instead of giving up on understanding the poems that were perplexing, I reread many of them. I was glad I made that effort because I picked up on the links of the gold chain that thread through the gems and stones. Although a poem early in the book told of her father's death, the fear of him still lives inside of Ms. Anderson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ANNE M. FELTY on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read all of Maggie's books and find her to be a brave and sensitive writer whose great heart has not been hardened by life but has grown wiser and more compassionate with time.
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By Reader on October 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
Readers of Maggie Anderson's work won't be surprised to note that the same grace with character and story flows throughout these selections. These poems are stately and intimate but with a kind of tender interior voice that maintains dignity and poise. Here is a voice that knows what it knows and tells it in a tone that makes readers want to bend closer to hear. For teachers, this is a good book to show how one can manage place and the way that someone who knows a place really well can move through the expository or posturing and into the kind of giving of a landscape to a reader like the best kind of gift--one that shows a sensitive knowing of what is needed and what will delight. A gorgeous offering--a true windfall.
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