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A Carnage in the Lovetrees (New California Poetry) Paperback – April 30, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

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"This book is brilliance."--Bin Ramke, author of

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"Building slowly from pieces scattered, even shattered, but still unnervingly present, Greenfield's story speaks for many, yet he presents it uniquely, revealing language as a mode of perception that can rearrange the past—but only if it's quick enough. Greenfield's language is that quick—and sharp, and startlingly beautiful."—Cole Swensen, author of Such Rich Hour

"Like a blue-faced television in a darkened room, a backstory lights up this rhapsodic outpouring. This is a cunning attack on both the ever-fading memory and on conventional methods of poetic confession —'The trigger is set on annihilation.' I'm truly amazed by these poems."—Mary Jo Bang, author of Louise in Love

"Greenfield tells us to 'Recognize the world,' know it again, since the only knowledge that counts is re-cognition. He presents those second knowings, recapitulations, bright flashing revisitings of pain and pleasure, which enact a kind of fumbling seduction between us and the world. In this book we recognize our best possibilities, and our worst fears, but it is all brilliant. This book is brilliance."—Bin Ramke, author of Airs, Waters, Places
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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

  • Series: New California Poetry (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Printing edition (April 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520238095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520238091
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,117,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Although I'm no expert in poetry (and so few are!), I'll tell you what I liked, and maybe that will give you a taste of this book. First, I like the way Greenfield tries to capture memories. His unique abbreviated style is a sort of shorthand to recollections of another epoch in the speaker's life. I also like the way he breathes new life into tired comparisons by turns of line and phrase--for example, under his rendering, a trees' branches guide the growth of the speakers' nerves, in some sort of reciprocal plan. I also like the way I can hear wrenched ghosts of other writers--e.g. "My voice has been lonely to me & a tonnage of personal/ evacuations"--Berryman, anyone? Fourth, I enjoy the speaker's (Middle English?) habit of jamming two words next to each other to create something new: "lovetrees", "flamedress", "rageweed". I like the way rural images like abandoned homesteads and the "sugary purl" of snowmelt appear, perhaps reflecting Greenfield's own peripatetic biography. Sixth, I found the presentation of the speaker's drug-addicted, self-destructive father to be masterly, and loved and was troubled by the "slurred, ambitious rhetoric of his hollering." The emotional notes Greenfield hit on this topic are absolutely perfect to me. In fact, only one poem out of this whole hefty first book was silly ("Bibemus &"), but that's just fussing. I can't believe how good this book is compared to those of so many other poetry professionals who are so much better at self-promotion, and are so much better well known. I can only hope this stunning first bundle leads to more, and that Greenfield continues to be properly recognized as a first-rate artist of rare gifts and sensibility.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Haunting, meloncholy, and beautiful. Richard Greenfield writes a lovely and disturbing collection of poems in this book. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in modern poetry.
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