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Comment: Hardcover book in dustjacket, showing some light reader wear to dustjacket & page edges
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Bar Book: Poems and Otherwise Hardcover – June 7, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Employing the metaphor-rich names and recipes of cocktails, an exuberant third collection from a "dancer of language". Molly Peacock --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Julie Sheehan won the Barnard Women Poets Prize for her previous collection. She lives on Long Island.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393072177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393072174
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,625,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julia M. Raynor on June 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Bar Book, Julie Sheehan's third book of poems, is a brew bursting the seams with poems--hers along with snatches and echoes of the greats--as well as talking cocktails, internal dialogue, and a running narrative of footnotes that threatens to steal the show. But Sheehan's sheer mastery of language and imagination is a tough act to follow and ultimately what unfolds here is all of a piece, that of piercing eye, ear, and heart.

While the barmaid tells her tale, half-shielded from the bar underworld by the plank on which she practices her craft, the footnotes sweep us along as she herself is swept off her feet by romance, courtship, and marriage. A service professional is seduced into servitude. "'And what,'/quoth she, 'of the mothers?'/And answered you, 'Who cares?'" The poems, too, mask and unmask the story of divorce. In the world of imagination that reigns, Sheehan's "otherwise" of the title takes full flight here as this fictional family falls apart. In pyrotechnics.

Yet all is not lost. Enter the infant Marguerite, who carries "this taint we call life," and love. More than anything, this book is infused with love: of lyric, music, and literature, as well as the literal child. The world-wise barmaid retires, becomes a keeper of books, her door closed to all but her child "who knows the secret knock" and sits "reading in her chair." Sheehan is a great reader as well as writer. There is no higher praise nor activity than reading here. And this book repays every one.
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Format: Hardcover
THE BAR BOOK. By Julie Sheehan. W. W. Norton, 2010.

While there was much to admire in ORIENT POINT, Julie Sheehan's second collection and winner of the Barnard Poetry Prize, THE BAR BOOK nearly knocked me off my metaphoric stool. There's been no dissipation of its predecessor's formal and technical expertise; yet Sheehan's high-gloss polish now bears water-rings, lipsticked cocktail napkins, and the additional detritus of drinkers. The marred wooden slab should segregate them--the Served--from Servers like herself, but the breaking of ranks, i.e. fraternization, also occurs. Hence love with a Suffering Bastard (first known by the drink he orders), then marriage, then a pregnant belly that becomes an obstruction for co-workers, then motherhood, then divorce.

The military reference above is intentional: Lt. General Petraeus plays a role in Sheehan's cast of characters, if only via a document titled "Counterinsurgency." The General himself is undeniably real, of course, though 's second epigraph claims that "the talking cocktails" are the collection's sole non-fictional characters. These include a junkie who orders Mudslides he never spills, drops, or drinks; though among the most memorable imbibers remain the first poem's faux reluctant guzzler of Brandy Stingers. A wary, wise veteran of mixology and, like the General's former employer, originally from Texas, she delivers what we might call a condensed war story of courtship and widowhood.

The (female) Texan's chronicle functions as a prelude for the banns that are later called in THE BAR BOOK, also a prose poem called "Liturgy of the Hours.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved the Bar Book! It was a completely unexpected combination of poetry and "story". The narrative helped me savor this book in a way that I wouldn't normally do with a book of poetry. All the original, unexpected content: the footnotes, the comments from the extra characters, even the piercingly brilliant headings, are pulled together by the story of the narrator. What a new and great way to read poetry. You won't be dissapointed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bar Book is no slouch. It saunters across the page, then down, and takes recalcitrant readers on its subtle ride. No regrets here--buy it, read it, then give Bar Book to a friend!
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By David on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The whole concept of this book is an embarrassment, and a very sad comment on the state of American poetry. Can poetry (or what some people call it) get any cuter? Whatever happened to poets who thought about the profound questions of the human predicament? This is for adolescents.
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