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Worldling Paperback – June 17, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393316289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393316285
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 5.5 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 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: #3,412,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Boston Globe writes that Elizabeth Spires's poetry is characterized by "simplicity, conviction and grace." These virtues are present in most of these poems, but are especially powerful in "Theatre of Pain," Spires's account of giving birth to her daughter. She writes: "In the theatre of pain where all things are born / and brought into the light, / I found myself one night, the world contracting / to a dream of world ..." A paradox: Spires captures, with a realistic quality, the dreamy and unreal feeling that can pervade life's most intense moments. (It's not for nothing that she's been compared to Elizabeth Bishop!) From the microcosm of birth to the larger world, Elizabeth Spires's writing is hypnotic and passionate.

From Library Journal

The poems in this eerily beautiful collection tackle the weighty themes of birth, death, change, and immortality. ("I have had a child. Now I must live with death," writes Spires on her daughter's birth.) Even so, she has a gossamer touch that draws the reader into the compelling rhythm of her struggle to come to terms with her own life ("Why am I here?" Why?), her maternal desire to hold fast to her child's infancy ("Let the children's game never end.../Let everything remain as it is!"), and her own childish wish to "stop all change and keep me/as I was; a child with a store of endless days." In the volume's final poem, the striking "Life Everlasting," the poet imagines having a choice between immortality and mortality, "the everlasting present of our life." With maturity's wisdom, she chooses the latter: "Our only paradise is here,/and we are rich as misers, rich in change!/We hold in our empty hands a currency of days/that we must spend down to the very last." Recommended for contemporary poetry collections.?Christine Stenstrom, Brooklyn P.L. New York
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer A. Johnson on December 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first found Elizabeth Spires' poem "Truro" published in The New Yorker when I was in high school, and it became one of my "foundation" poems, the poems that inspired me to read and eventually write poetry. Now years later, I am still captivated by her work.
Worldling speaks eloquently and sharply about universal experiences, framing them in terms both unexpected and completely familiar. One of my other favorite poems in this collection is "Theatre of Pain", a searing, honest, and beautiful account of labor and childbirth. Elizabeth Spires gives a voice to the unspeakable things:
TRURO
I found a white stone on the beach
inlaid with a blue-green road I could not follow.
All night I'd slept in fits and starts,
my only memory the in-out, in-out, of the tide.
And then morning. And then a walk,
the white stone beckoning, glinting in the sun.
I felt its calm power as I held it
and wished a wish I cannot tell.
It fit in my hand like a hand gently
holding my hand through a sleepless night.
A stone so like, so unlike,
all the others it could only be mine.
The wordless white stone of my life!
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