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Ghost in a Red Hat: Poems Hardcover – March 28, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Warren's fifth book of poetry spans a wide range of topics, from classical mythology to personal traumas to both real and imagined histories. Warren approaches each subject with great directness. "I am willing to be rewritten," she says, and, "as long as the danger lived outside/ me I couldn't write it." These poems struggle to take others' pain in and then articulate it. One group of poems remembers her friend the poet and editor Deborah Tall: "We touched hands, touched cheeks, as much/ to ascertain we still had bodies as to show/ the courtesies of separation." Warren revives Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who famously designed Central Park, with the same intimacy she uses to recall memories of her loved ones in the extended meditation "Earthworks," which intertwines Olmsted's biography with quotes from Emerson's essays. And while the book is often elegiac, the poems are not without a kind of dark humor: "I still have one good eye, and when I squint,/ you wouldn't believe what I see." (Mar.)
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Review

“An important poet . . . beyond the achievement of all but a double handful of living American poets.” — Harold Bloom

“Arrestingly plainspoken, within the shimmering shapes she devises. . . . The bitter taste of that word ‘expertise’ conjures the sweet experiences and sensations this book often celebrates (or whose absence it laments). . . . This book represents a significant contribution to the national imaginary.” — Dan Chiasson (New York Review of Books)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 107 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (March 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393080064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393080063
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,972,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Rosanna Warren's Ghost in a Red Hat is the strongest single-volume book of contemporary poetry I have read in some time. It is consistently strong throughout its ninety-nine pages; there is not a single weak poem. Of course, some are stronger than others, but the overall structure and rhythm of the book has been very well thought-out by the author. It is, generally, a strongly elegiac, even melancholic, volume. After the first poem, a brief elegy to the poet's mother, there are two poems creatively addressing the problem of a creative block, all set against the Mediterranean, the American author's cultural education in Europe very much in the background. The plangent note on which the first poem closes sets the tone for the rest of the volume: "she vanished, and let twilight take her place."

The next poem is also a poignant elegy, this time to a friend, presumably dying of cancer:

And may the dark fire, far away, charring my friend's hurt cells,
complete its work, let him grow into his longer story,
the good one, the one in which sunlight runs in the veins with the force of summer,
and children [on the beach] find some new thing, and shout at the sea.

And the yet the poem is equally about finding the words to fit her mood, seemingly weary and tired, back in Mediterranean Europe to "examine the ashes" of long-vanished childhood. Perhaps her dying friend had been with her there, on the shores of childhood and first discoveries. "Maternal" seems to be an elegy to the child she was. This theme of vanished childhood and feeling of temporal dislocation returns later and with perhaps a feeling of greater helplessness in "Liszt, Overheard" and "Acela.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Delicious and delightful at the same time. Rosanna Warren's latest book, "Ghost in a Red Hat" reads like a meal for the taste and the eyes of readers who love a good modern poem. Toothsome and delectable ought be retired for the French "delicieuse" of today, a harmony of sounds, watering the poetry's way. Sensitive to friends and lovers, the book is my introduction to Warren's poetry, I was pleasantly surprised at her novel approach.

Allen Hagar
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am glad I found this poetry book. One of the poem's was featured on Writer's Almanac. I know just where to go for used books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rosanna Warren is one of the great contemporary poets and Ghost in a Red Hat shows her going from strength to strength.
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Format: Hardcover
A remarkable book that reminds us that poetry is still vital, still nourishing, necessary. This is poet writing at her very best. I've lived with this book for a week and stay away from it.
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