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Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons Paperback – March 17, 1995

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Inspired by passion for one of her poetry studentsRachel of the "leonine hair"Hacker poured out this extraordinary, long sonnet sequence, with an occasional villanelle thrown in, over the course of their yearlong, mostly long-distance love affair. Since the lovers are often apart, the book is as much a personal diary cum colorful travelogue (during this time Hacker commutes with her young daughter between Manhattan's Upper West Side, Paris and Venice) as it is an account of lust, ecstasy, yearning, jealousy and betrayal. These sonnets are graphic, colloquial and immediate; Hacker's command of the straitening, fixed form, which often seems archaic and empty when used by other poets, is a stunning achievement.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Don't let the abstract title mislead you. This lengthy sequence of formal, rhymed sonnets laced with villanelles chronicles an obsessive lesbian love affair with a direct, colloquial, fleshly passion ("We'll do just fine when we can jam together/the necessary parts"). Against the chic scenery of Paris, Manhattan, and Provincetown, Hacker recounts states of separation and sexual longing focused so tightly on the beloved that the whirl of cafes, bars, and shopping sprees could not seem more superfluous. At times the series slows to self-indulgencecatalogs of lunches eaten, clothes wornbut Hacker's impressive technical skills, combined with the sensitivity of her subject and her straightforward diction, prevent the book from becoming the flat diary a lesser poet might have written.Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (March 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393312259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393312256
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on February 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
A pregnant pause between word three and four of one of these sonnets changed my life. Hacker writes an accessible, witty, beautiful, tender, sexy masterpiece (a novel, really) which has become, since its pub date, a folk rite-of-passage for many readers (even non-poetry lovers), a pole-raising standard for other poets, and the source for many phrases worth remembering: from "age is not the muddle of the matter" to the rhyming of "fit of pique" with "geste heroique." This is a page-turning classic -- erudite, lyrical, and peopled by women one would want to know. A smart person's tour de force!
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Format: Paperback
Sophistocated and exact, Marilyn Hacker is a poet's poet. She is a formalist who still believs in the power of sonnets, a writer of astounding intellect and superb taste who, like Wallace Stevens, gives you the feeling she's intensely alive even in contemplation. This book, with the poems all set in New York, is a tour de force of modern poetry: a novel in sonnets, each sonnet connecting to the one before it and to the one that follows. It recounts the stormy love affair between the poet and her wayward muse, a much younger woman. The language is gorgeous. The story is romantic, gritty and quotidian, all in the right places. The details fix you in place and time: upscale New York life, late 20th century. These poems take you through the full range of emotion, but mostly they're very, very sexy. The subject may be lesbian love but no lover can fail to identify with the joy and ache and longing--and yes, even with the sex. A perfect Valentine's Day gift. A total masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
Marilyn Hacker through her poetry describes her life with her lover, both in New York and Paris. She, being older, talks about insecurities and the torture of being away from the one you love. From the first meeting to the phone call goodbye, Marilyn describes the appropriate lust over another person. This poetry is amazing.
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Format: Paperback
Marilyn Hacker's sonnets are, in Marianne Moore's useful phrase, "not for prudish persons." The sporadically frank descriptions of lesbian eroticism might not be for every reader. However, I must give this book the highest recommendation for the sheer technical mastery of the work. Hacker writes sonnets with the casual ease of someone turning over in bed. And she does know how to paint a picture and to tell a story as few other poets do. Her rhymes are sometimes wryly Byronic ("you're a" with "bravura"), always inventive, never tired or hackneyed (polysyllabic, rhyming single words with double words, rhymes in the middle of words). And the occasional French phrase need not disconcert. (I was quietly proud of remembering that "gueule de bois" meant "hangover"!)

Hacker has renovated many forms that have fallen out of disfavor -- the corona, or crown of sonnets, wherein the last line of one sonnet becomes the first line of the next. She has a kind of villanelle that goes on for twenty-eight lines, three tercets beyond the ordinary length. But quite apart from formal considerations, these poems make a fascinating diary of a life lived between New York and Paris, in search of poetry and human love.

Perhaps the highest praise I can give to this most satisfying book is that it makes one eager to read more of Hacker's work -- which one has often encountered before, but into which one has never delved with the proper attention and depth. LOVE, DEATH, AND THE CHANGING OF THE SEASONS is electric with life.
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