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Field Knowledge Paperback – October 12, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Aptly enough, Creech's second collection is the first winner of a prize named after the late Anthony Hecht, who with Richard Wilbur upheld the standard of formal poetry in the generation of American poets that came of age in the 1940s. There are a great many more formalists in or just ahead of Creech's contingent (he was born in 1970), but perhaps none combines gravity and grace as he does. Those qualities are consciously and consequentially on his mind in the three poems constituting "Some Notes on Grace and Gravity," which consider how Giotto, Leonardo, and Newton, respectively, confirmed the interdependence of grace and gravity. The muralist draws the feet of holy figures to the ground, the painter-scientist turns from rendering saintly flesh to sundering cadavers, and the theoretician unites gravity and grace, mass and motion, materially. If those poems concern the infusion of the sacred into the profane, others mourn modernity's willful alienation from the sacred, quite often by imaging gods in exile, as in the three poems, placed early, middle, and late in the book, about the travails of Orpheus. Besides such grave pieces, there is much that is witty. Throughout, there is a use of the European poetic tradition that is as gratifying and profound as it is assured. This man's good. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

J. D. McClatchy is Poetry Editor of "The Yale Review", and his poems, essays, and reviews appear regularly in "The New Republic, The New Yorker" and "The New York Times Book Review".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 79 pages
  • Publisher: Waywiser Press (October 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904130232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904130239
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.3 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,613,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I believe this is one of the finest single volumes of contemporary verse on the present scene. Creech has a marvelous ear, a real handle on verse technique and the great tradition and he produces some truly stunning works here. For my money, he is one of our best poets. Unfortunately, nobody has heard of him. Buy it, you won't be disappointed. He's great.
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Format: Paperback
Part philosopher, part unwitting preacher, Creech is once again a revelation.

You will want to spend hours combing all of these lines. There are lots of great and hidden truths.

I came close to tears reading "Firstfruits," an interesting parable of resurrection.
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Format: Paperback
The poems in FIELD KNOWLEDGE exude a gentle dispassion and allude to (or actually name) classical figures, reminding one of Richard Wilbur's jewels of form. They also recall Carl Dennis' PRACTICAL GODS as the sublime and the mundane intertwine seductively.

Morri Creech creates disconcerting but radiant images as he tackles such topics as the feelings of Job and his wife post tribulation Book of, Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus in the garden, Orpheus in the underworld, starvation as a martyr's instrument, and a jarring narrative duel between desire as virtue and sex crime. Every poem strikes a distinct tone, but all together reinforce each other as words, phrases, and images iterate in different contexts. The title poem literally concentrates on a history of a field and is suffused with earthy things such as sumac and "blackberries they swear will boil down to ambrosial jam," yet transports one into philosophical musings about the truth of this place. This is the crux of FIELD KNOWLEDGE: to offer variations on how we may see the world, how we may gain knowledge, and whether we can trust that knowledge we may think is solid.

In the penultimate poem, Creech pens,

"More than the sounds that set the stones and trees

in place, and that arrange both shade and light,

a sad music ripens in the heart; caught

between oblivion and paradise...."

This fragment of verse describes the etched poetry of FIELD KNOWLEDGE sublimely.
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Format: Paperback
It should come as to no surprise that a poet such as Morri Creech wins the first annual Anthony Hecht poetry prize. Creech is the perfect poet to carry on in Hecht's name. His poems carry a certain gravitas and darkness that Hecht had. And a formal beauty that few contemporary poets have today. (see "Wife of Job")

While I didn't quite like this book as much as I loved Paper Cathedrals (which is truly a spectacular book), this volume contained much of what is best in today's poetry (see "Wife of Job").
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