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Worth (Kuhl House Poets) Paperback – July 31, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Kuhl House Poets
  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press (July 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877458200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877458203
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,632,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Robyn Schiff's Worth restores originality to its proper and meaningful function: this is a book of new beginnings, of self-creations and re-creations. These poems offer pleasure and disturbance in equal measure and at all times; they are as dazzlingly constructed as a Chanel gown and as breathless as a hovering finch, both of which are among the elements of Schiff's densely populated imagination. This work manages to strike me as unlike anything I've seen before, while feeling perfectly inevitable. Worth is a marvel."

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By E Harris on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
In his book 20th Century Pleasures, Robert Hass states that poetic form is "the house, the human indwelling which art makes possible when it makes forms the imagination can inhabit." This metaphor for poetic form recalls the etymology of "stanza," which denotes a dwelling place or a room. In her book Worth, Robyn extends the metaphor further, since many of the poems are literally houses: "The House of Worth," "Maison Cartier," "House of Dior," "House of Versace." And these poems house many things. The "House of Versace," for one, returns us to the vehicle of the metaphor by housing the word "verse" itself. But more obviously and more importantly, these are houses of fashion. This may help explain why the forms, while never merely ornamental, are often so intricate and ornate. Like fashion, the poems are always about both style and function.

They are also about fashioning as well as fad, since the intricacy of Robyn's forms shows us how they are fashioned even as they are being formed. This is our most primal sense of form since, as Hass also suggests, "our first experience of form is the experience of our own formation." As for form as fad, the poet Frank O'Hara's gives an apt and applicable sartorial metaphor: "If you are going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you." Here, O'Hara clearly shows us what fashion and poetry may have in common. They both use form to incite in us incendiary and unceasing desire.

But to say Robyn's poems are about fad is not to say that the poems are trendy. They speak to America's most entrenched history and literary traditions. As early as 1854, Henry David Thoreau insisted in Walden that "We worship not the Graces, nor Parcae, but Fashion.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Schiff's work is simply beautiful. Filled with both real and surreal images, Schiff has a true talent for the written word and the reader can't help but succumb. Her topics are original, the prose outstanding. Even those who aren't poetry fans will admit to being swept away. A must for everyone's library.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
Schiff's poems make use of a wide range of vocabularies and texts; throughout this collection, the reader comes up, again and again, against pleasurable surprises. Well worth buying and reading.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Schiff is a poetic genius. Worth is a small masterpiece.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Robyn Schiff's poetry is beautifully smart. Her work is moving, intellectual, and not at all your run-of-the-mill poetry. Everyone should buy this book to help support this artist.
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