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A Working Girl Can't Win: and Other Poems (Modern Library Paperbacks) [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Garrison
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.00
Kindle Price: $10.26
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Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

Deborah Garrison, whose work as an editor and writer has enlivened the pages of The New Yorker for more than a decade, evokes the characters and events of her everyday life with intense feeling and, more important, conjures up the universal dilemmas and pleasures of a young woman trying to come to terms with love and work.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews Review

Every couple of years, some unlucky soul gets designated as the Poet for People Who Hate Poetry, and now it seems to be Deborah Garrison's turn. It's easy to see why: she gets the voice of the late 20th-century New Yorker to perfection, in all its kvetchy, melancholic glory. At times it's like hearing George Costanza channeling Emily Dickinson:

I'm never going to sleep
with Martin Amis
or anyone famous.

Garrison also tends to sidestep metaphysics in favor of more accessible subject matter. That means love (mostly unrequited) and work (mostly unbearable, particularly for a working girl in a testosterone-driven office, wearied by the appearance of yet "another alpha male-- / a man's man, a dealmaker"). No wonder Garrison seems so appealing. And no wonder her publisher has capitalized on this appeal by packaging her book in such a sleek, chic jacket. It would be a mistake, however, to write her off as one more neurotic light versifier. Her metaphoric agility can take you by surprise: note the Atlantic breeze coming "up out of the surf / like a dog gone swimming, / slagging sand and spray every which way / and making the news unreadable." So, too, can the note of resignation that undergirds so many of Garrison's vignettes-in-verse, giving even her most featherweight performances an odd, unchic intensity.

From Library Journal

Garrison, a New York-based poet and senior editor at The New Yorker, has produced this slim volume of highly accessible poetry: the talented observations of a bright young career woman preoccupied with men, sex, clothes, domesticity, and office politics. One only wishes that Garrison would use her vivid skills with the language ("the sun's fuzzy mouth sucking the day back") to explore issues and scenery that more deeply touch the reader's soul. She's capable of gorgeous images; of peonies she writes, "I used to hate/ their furry scent, their fat cheeks packed/ with held breath, the way they'd crumple open/ later, like women in tears." And her poems ring with inner rhythms and off-rhymes, along with smug, self-confident humor: "Are her roots/ rural, right-leaning? Is she Jewish,/ self-hating? Past her sell-by date,/ or still ovulating?" Garrison entertains but shallowly. Recommended with some reservations for larger public libraries.?Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1009 KB
  • Print Length: 81 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B002AOHRGE
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (February 19, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,092 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars underbaked and flat February 23, 2004
By A Customer
Great idea for a collection--poems from the point of view of a female office worker. But there's not much empathy, not much risk, not much music, not much wit, not much anything here. These are above all intellectually and linguistically lazy poems which aim for irony but seldom get beyond archness. No perceptions you couldn't find in the pages of a woman's magazine or on a TV-show about working women--and not even as entertaining as any number of chick lit novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Check these out April 14, 2007
This is very good poetry: insightful, articulate, and very witty. Garrison is quite deft with the English language and doesn't litter her writing with clever, irrelevant tricks. She keeps her work focused and to the point. She has the snap and sting of Michael Benedikt.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captures 30+y.o. female ambiguity June 5, 1998
By A Customer
Read a review in Newsweek and immediately bought my copy. Rings very true to the things that I am feeling about my own life, career, and friends. I hope she publishes more of her poetry. This has also reawakened my interest in poetry, which I forgot about since the 8th grade!
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fresh Air June 12, 1999
By A Customer
If Deborah Garrison is the one to liberate poetry from the ivory tower, as some readers suggest, then poetry's doomed. The true liberators far surpass her in wit, grace, and intellect: Dove, Walcott, Bei Dao to name a few--& you don't need to be an academic to notice this.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This poetry lover loves Garrison! May 13, 1998
By A Customer
I read almost this entire book this am on the train while on my way to work. I am so thrilled to see the work of a generation x-er (perhaps on the baby boomer cusp) like myself who is so full spectrum- honest, humorous, contemplative, strong, vulnerable, contradictory and therefore, human.
I absolutely loved it. Not so much "Plath" like, but maybe more "Sharon Olds" without all the dick.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bulk-rate poetry? May 25, 1999
By A Customer
I wrote a review in Locust & Honey comparing the recent poetic work of Garrison's *Working Girl* and Suzanne Clark's *Sketches of Home* (Canon Press). An excerpt: "How it feels to receive a bulk mailing which asserts that you have won a great prize or thousands of dollars is sometimes how Garrison's poetry comes across. We don't know if we should respond or if a response is even being solicited. This 'bulk-rate' poetry weighs heavy for an instant, then vanishes." -- Adam Spurgeon Zens
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars the gods must be crazy. February 2, 1999
By A Customer
the powers that be in the poetry community should be ashamed of themselves. why in the world hasn't any poet publicly criticized these poems? perhaps the art of criticism is truly dead...or perhaps it has something to do with garrison's position at the new yorker?
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Working Girl Can't Win March 1, 2000
One cannot help but wonder, if Deborah Garrison were not senior editor at The New Yorker would her jejune attempts at poetry ever have been noticed, much less published? Uggh. What a bunch of superficial, rhyme-y dime-y fluff. Good poetry marinates in one's marrow. Garrison's stuff (I won't dignify it with the name "poetry")floats like dust on a dingy supermarket tabloid rack. If she wants to vent her spleen in the wee hours, fine, but she should keep it to herself and not use her position to force it on others. Someone needs to say it, so I will, this emperor(ess) hath no clothes!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars you're kidding me, right?
That this book got any attention still blows me away. What a boring bunch of poems that read like a nightmarish open reading. Read more
Published on July 28, 2004 by Master of
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Make-You-Think Reading
I picked this book off the shelf by chance. My good luck.
Deborah Garrison's little book of poetry is a treasure. It's funky, funny, wonderful reading. Read more
Published on December 1, 2003 by Lisa Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Chick-lit poetry
It's Bridget Jones country, which I don't think is such a terrible thing. And it's easy to read, which I don't think is such a terrible thing. Read more
Published on July 14, 2003 by D. P. Birkett
4.0 out of 5 stars For Working Women
This is a somewhat short collection, 59 pages of actual poems with a lot of white space. The main emphasis is on working women, but many of the poems are about relationships. Read more
Published on July 24, 2002 by Fred Camfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Snakey, real, bursting with ahs
Deborah Garrison is a new name to me and a fresh pinch about the poetry nerve. After you read a few dozen books of poetry, technique gives way to meaning and original ideas... Read more
Published on January 3, 2002 by Ian
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Entertaining (Is That Such a Bad Thing?)
You will note as you go through the reviews that this seems to be a "love it or hate it" book. Read more
Published on August 4, 2001 by John Boddie
1.0 out of 5 stars Sure, it's accessible, but...
There's no doubt that Deborah Garrison's poetry is accessible, but so are Hallmark cards and children's books. Don't waste your dime on this kitschy collection. Read more
Published on March 9, 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book of Poetry I've Ever Read!
I've always disliked poetry,until a friend told me about Ms. Garrison. This book is fresh, energetic, and gives a voice to those pity grievances people like me feel every day. Read more
Published on May 24, 2000 by "amhered39"
1.0 out of 5 stars The Offspring of Dr. Seuss and Jewel
Perhaps Garrison believed she was being hip by saying, "Yes (expletive) them all-the artsy posers, the office blowhards and brown-nosers," which sounds more self-referential than... Read more
Published on May 13, 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired, Pretty, and Cheap--Pretty Cheap
When I heard this woman read in NY, she displayed absolutely no confidence in her own voice, which makes me wonder how I, a reader, am expected to exert my own energy into the weak... Read more
Published on May 9, 2000
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