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Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems Paperback – March 17, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Peacock won admiration, and notoriety, in the 1980s for combining traditional rhyming forms, reader-friendly narrative interest and explicit sexual content. Raw Heaven (1984), her second book, introduced her signature devices: in it, she used skillful pentameters (in blank verse, quatrains, sonnets and other rhyming schemes) to examine, seriously and with patience, "lovers saying, let's-take-off-our-clothes," masturbation ("she lets one hand re-pin the labia/ to free the other to wander"), "the smoky smell of menses" and "time's experienced part-/ fit-into-part." Subsequent work expanded her repertoire (rondeaux, terza rima, alphabetical forms) and kept her interest in love, sex and domestic experience on low boil. "Why would an orgasm make someone weep?" one brief poem asks. "Have you ever faked an orgasm?" another inquires. At the same time, the later books widened her range to include a traumatic childhood (1989's Take Heart), a range of long-term friendships, and the vicissitudes of marriage (1995's Original Love). They also opened up Peacock's gift for quips: "Luxury is in the ordinary"; "Ours is the miracle: we're here." This volume offers a generous sampling from those three books for people who missed them the first time; nibbles and bits from her first book, And Live Apart (1980); and new poems that show Peacock trying to expand her technique toward long, halting, self-conscious free-verse sentences, and to more challenging, promising, dreamlike fragments, "a practice of words-in-blood."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

There's a delicious tang to Peacock's vital poems--a taste of earth, salty and laced with iron, a headiness like that carried by the breeze just before a spring rain. This electric juiciness is just as pungent in poems from 27 years ago as it is in the suite of new poems. The older poems in this volume have appeared in four previous collections of her work, including Raw Heaven (1984) and Original Love (1995). Wielding bright metaphors and adeptly combining story and lyricism, Peacock makes the annealing of the self in the furnace of family and the fever of erotic love her signature theme. Her insouciant wit deflects a brooding soul in surprising and gratifyingly lucid poems that mesh a rich physicality with arresting emotional precision. In her newest work, Peacock interprets her vision of "The Land of Shi," a fugitive Celtic realm that manifests itself whenever "the air suddenly intensifies, and you are in another world," an elegant description of the magic of poetry and a place Peacock carries readers to in style. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (March 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325492
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,066,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Joanne Merriam on January 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate to see Molly Peacock read at Vanderbilt University from this book in October 2010. She's tremendously expressive. One of the audience members asked about the performance aspect of her poetry and she said that somebody (a voice coach? I think?) had asked why she only uses the middle register of her voice when she reads, and it was like a light went on and now she uses all registers. She read "Aubade" (one of my favourites) and talked about how "A Favor of Love" was a true story (readers can sample it at The Poetry Foundation's site [...] She was very funny (after being introduced by Mark Jarman, she said she was about to read us a sonnet, and we could judge for ourselves how holy it was).

Her poetry is lovely, thoughtful and full of unexpected moments of humour. Her formal poetry appears to have been written effortlessly (I know from experience how difficult that is to pull off). She writes about difficult moments in personal relationships with great sensitivity and understanding. A wonderful poet and a wonderful collection of her work.
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Format: Paperback
Molly Peacock wears received form like a glamorous yet loose-fitting robe, and while there are sound triolets ("Yes"), sonnets ("Unexpected Freedom") and villanelles ("Little Miracle") here, there are also many good poems where the meter is ghostly and the rhymes scant and/or slant ("Goodbye Hello in the East Village"). However, I do think Ms. Peacock may be a little too present personally in her poetry. Of course it may be an elaborate subterfuge but the consistency of the material is so great, alongside her frequent interjections of her own first name in the poems, that I am convinced despite myself she had an alcoholic father/distant mother/dysfunctional sister, suicide attempt in her early twenties, late twenties abortion and mid life childless marriage to an old flame. It's slightly frustrating because while these insights are compelling, I know a woman of her obvious gifts must be capable of more depth. Where are the great political poems? Where the philosophical?
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