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Blind Huber: Poems Paperback – October 1, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nick Flynn's 1999 debut, Some Ether, was a compelling piece of post- confessionalism, and a runaway success: Flynn depicted his suicidal mother, his vagabond father, and his own grownup torments, phrase by short, sophisticated phrase. This follow-up forsakes Flynn's own biography for that of the blind 18th-century beekeeper Francois Huber, who-with his assistant Burnens-discovered the outlines of what we now know about honeybees. The compact and compelling lyric sequence imagines Huber, Burnens, and the bees themselves as they reveal their nature and their behavior over Huber's long and patient life. Component poems-all in terse and deft free verse-take full advantage of Flynn's real knowledge of apiculture, and of his talent for punchy, self-contained lines. "We pollinate the fields," the bees say in "Queen," "because we are the fields."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Flynn's impressive first collection (Some Ether) was overly autobiographical, tempered by a close attention to craft. This new collection, based loosely on the life of Fran‡ois Huber, a blind, 18th-century beekeeper, strays far from the Self. Yet what unites these two collections is the sense of desperation, the crazed need, the determination to prevail. The majority of poems are written from the bees' perspective, yet they seem neither irrelevant nor simplistic. In fact, this approach yields wisdom and insights, as in "Queen": "You take our honey/ because we let you. We pollinate the fields// because we are the fields." These poems are tight, with not a word wasted; objectivist at their root, they borrow imagery from Christianity, Islam, science, and mythology to create almost surreal philosophical concoctions that seem to have belonged together all along. While Flynn is unquestionably one of the most interesting poets writing today, and avid poetry readers should be lining up for this book, it will most likely confuse more casual readers. Recommended, therefore, for larger poetry collections.
Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; First Printing edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555973736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555973735
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #872,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. R. Gardiner on October 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this small book with excitement growing to fierce joy.

I'd expected something dreamy and pastoral, or remote, but the charged language took me straight to the frontlines of a fight for existence, love, comprehension. Some of the compact, measured poems felt dangerous, like standing in the middle of a freeway, feeling the heat of traffic speeding past, or leaning almost too far over a cliff, and random thrills of phrases and images came back to my mind, later. Others are more observation, less breathless, but with a focussed fascination. The poems have the structural strength of a well-built old stone wall, which is great, because the perspective zooms wildly in and out, and the whole thing could have just been loopy in lesser hands. The poems build but don't rely on each other, they're broad, and don't spoil themselves for rereading. The language is very physical, accessible, timeless, and sounds as well out loud as read silently. I'm getting a couple more copies, the ones I had were gathered up by curious friends.
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By A Customer on September 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
Someone borrowed it and didn't return it. So I'm here buying a second copy and was surprised to read bad customer reviews. Nick's fine observations and sensitive explorations of life in the hive are very satisfying to me. What vital person isn't interested in bees or ants, even if only as analogies of us?
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By A Customer on February 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nick Flynn's "Blind Huber" masterfully, with patience and discipline, achieves what few other poets are able to do: the book-length, extended metaphor. Not since Louise Gluck's "The Wild Iris" have I sunk so deeply into a vision of the world conjured through sustained imagery. Here, as he fashions a series of poems from the perspective of bee-keepers, worker bees, foragers, and the Queen herself, Flynn builds a linguistic world around the reader like a hive.
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Format: Paperback
I think it was a wise choice for Flynn to turn from the overtly autobiographical poems of his powerful first book to a radically different project. Isn't that a strength for a poet, to be able to switch lenses, discover new ways to make meaning by shifting the formal parameters of the poem? The strangeness, beauty and ferocity of the world of bees becomes, in Flynn's hands, a platform for the investigation of human experience. What better metaphor than the hive to help us think about community and individuality, the whole and the singular? These poems are haunting, weird and alive; they reward the reader's patience and willingness to enter into their world with a remarkable intensity of feeling, and a compelling vision.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
okay... I discovered Nick in an anthology of "dangerous" young poets, even though some of these poets were in their 40's...(is that young, in comparison?) Anyway. I ordered this book immediately. It is a whole book...as opposed to poetry collections that are just that...collected poems. The book is loosely based on the pioneer beekeeper (who went blind). I love bees and so was already biased toward the poems. However, Nick shows such a tenderness to small details, he enters the bees world as often as Huber's, and speaks with authority as both. Drawing on this quiet art as inspiration, as well as the blind man who provided the rest of the beekeeping world with most of the knowledge they now have, Nick crafts poems that are disturbing, soft, and sometimes statements of fact dressed up in fancy garb. My favorite image from one of the poems has the bees filling up the walls of a house with honey. The owner's had to burn it to get rid of them. Nick speaks the poem from the point of view of the bees. Brilliantly crafted. Attention to detail. The details are beautiful.
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By A Customer on January 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nick Flynn blows me away. It's a cliche, but still true. Brittle, but still highly emotional. Between Blind Huber and Some Ether, Flynn is building as impressive a library as any poet working today. This time through watch him as he tangles with the same themes as his first book, but through the prism of bee keeping and bee society. Just dandy.
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