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Hammer: Poems Paperback – July 1, 2003

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Turpin is a poet of unusual gifts...a meditative and social poet whose real subject is the connection between one person and another--sometimes, between one person and all others. His material is not local color, but the universal, and the building trades are presented not as exotic but for their likeness to the rest of life."

"This work is so fundamentally substantial and pleasurable that it feels, to me, like an anthem."

From the Back Cover

One of the root meanings of the word poet is maker. In Hammer we encounter the poems of a man who has obviously made not only the words at hand, but physical things—rooms, houses, buildings—in the world. Mark Turpin has made his living for the past twenty-five years as a carpenter and construction worker, and his debut collection offers a rare and profound view of manual labor's laconic, and largely male, world. In exciting contrast to the exhausted self-reference of much postmodern art, these poems are about something: a way of life that's well understood outside the classroom, but little mentioned within. In poems with titles like "Laborer's Code," "Last Hired," "Waiting for Lumber," "Sledgehammer's Song," and "Finish Work," Turpin renders, with precision and unsentimental passion, the honor and dignity, as well as the tedium and the small, everyday humiliations, of physical labor.

But Turpin is no noble savage—his work has been highly praised by Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Thom Gunn, Philip Levine, and others, and his poems have appeared in the best literary magazines. His poems create, perhaps out of the necessity of a new subject, an idiom and diction largely missing from contemporary American poetry. Hammer is to carpentry what A Boy's Will was to farming. Wherever Turpin's art takes him next, it's likely many will follow, with pleasure and gratitude.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books; 1 edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889330868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889330860
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,779,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By choiceweb0pen0 VINE VOICE on September 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first came across Mark Turpin when his poem "Waiting For Lumber" appeared on the Poetry Daily website. I was immediately struck by the unusual subject matter and the simple, yet powerful truth quickly captivated me. Again and again we are taken into a world of 2x4's, bent nails, and sawdust, portrayed in a realistic and beautiful way. We feel the monotony of banging nails all day without it becoming tedious or boring to read. Turpin takes us into the lives and minds of builders through himself and his coworkers. I highly recommend this collection, even if the only pick you regularly use is a toothpick.
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Format: Paperback
Any construction worker will appreciate the thoughtful beauty of Turpin's easy to read poetry. At the same time, those not within the industry will learn to appreciate the psychology of the construction worker and the world in which he lives. This must read American poetry.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Turpin's a great poet, detailed and well crafted verse. And if you've lived the experiance of the jobsite, then you'll find his insight and evocation transcendent.
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