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Cloud Journal, Poems Paperback – March 5, 2008
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From the Back Cover
"One can only hope a lot of people have time and leisure to experience poems as accomplished, multitudinous, complicated and evocative as these sonnets from David Rigsbee. Here, the technical difficulties are entirely invisible, the feeling and tone are unmistakably Elizabethan, and any true lover of poetry will be thankful for the experience. The collection begins with the most unlikely shove-off point it is possible to imagine for a poem--a fire in a chicken processing factory which killed many people unnecessarily, at a town named Hamlet, in North Carolina. With this as departure, Rigsbee is long gone into the empyrean and spins an epic out of a story as grisly as The Iliad. How he does it is a lesson in the power of poetic evocation. These sonnets move from the lowest human to the highest heavenly world."--Andrew Glaze
About the Author
David Rigsbee is the author of five previous collections, including The Dissolving Island (BkMk Press, 2003). With Steven Ford Brown, he co-edited Invited Guest: An Anthology of Twentieth Century Southern Poetry (University of Virginia Press, 2001). His work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Southern Review, and many others. He is the recipient of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Virginia Commission on the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Academy of American Poets.
Top customer reviews
Rigsbee handles his material with what I would describe as a Southern Baroque sensibility. But the vision of the sonnets is not, finally, Christian, and John Coltrane, a native son of Hamlet, offers in his music more by way of consolation and meaning than does traditional faith. In this, Rigsbee follows one of his mentors, Richard Rorty.
The sonnets in the second sequence are equally rich and equally demanding. "Cloud Journal" is dedicated to the poet's mother, whose last days provide less the occasion than the spur for meditations on mortality and all of its time-frames. The elemental looms large in these poems, as does human frailty. These are poems that quietly begin from the great facts of time and change and engage them with the resources of poet and philosopher, reaching no great claims or solutions but a richness of affirmations of "certain / acuities" in the face of the otherness of the world.
Both series showcase Rigsbee's versatile and accomplished handlings of the verse form as well as his probing sympathy and intelligence, his pursuit in poems of what escapes our other ways with words. If we are beyond the point at which the sonnet can be put to radically novel uses, we are not beyond the point where such seamless handling of the form as Rigsbee's deserves our praises. These are wonderful poems, demanding, and rewarding the attention they ask.