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How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0978984823
ISBN-10: 097898482X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Iowa Prize winner (Thieves' Latin) Shippy's third collection is a novella-in-verse written in stepped tercets reminiscent of William Carlos Williams'. Told by a resident of a very modern-sounding Thebes, the poem presents itself as a Bizarro-world remake of the Oedipus cycle. Yazoo, a cow, crashes through the chatty speaker's ceiling, spurring him to pontificate about his media-obsessed life and personal struggle with a sick father. Dreamy, playful and at times campy, Shippy's poem interweaves the voices of talking monkeys, birdbots and a flirty Sphinx. The text bends and blends genre, myth and allegory, highlighted by the speaker's catchy patter: "After // her chutz- / pah / I can't manage to oompah // the money shot." This is ambitious work that manages to be frequently dynamic, describing a world much like our own: "These are dark days for our town. / A virulent stain of self-schaden- / freud- // e / is replicating / spreading the boos."
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Peter Shippy's verse novel begins as all novels should, with a cow crashing through the ceiling of its first-person narrator. Other delights ensue. Pound said Mauberley was his condensed version of a Henry James novel: How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic operates under similar depth pressures and aspirations. The triadic stepline pioneered for U.S. poets by W.C. Williams is here employed with vigor and narrative impetus; the rhythms are propulsive and captivating. This is above all an enjoyable book, fantastic and funny throughout. It can be read straight through, and I mean that as high praise. Shippy's polyglot reality where history is hence held me bound for 80 pages. --Bill Knott

Shippy's aesthetic boundaries are blurred in the most delightful and surprising ways and have opened new ground for lyric expression. His hybrid has infused contemporary poetry with dynamism. --Denise Duhamel

In dexterous lingo, the argot fraught with gumption and gusto, Shippy's new poem dazzles. Fathers, mothers, sphinxes, and seers populate this wild hyper-Classical world, one made wilder by the poet's searing wit. How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic astonishes, the ideas everywhere: read it and leap! --Alan Michael Parker

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Rose Metal Press; 1st edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097898482X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978984823
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,384,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin Miller on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Publisher's Weekly review above does a pretty good job with the basics of "How to Build a Ghost in Your Attic," although the book is such a remarkable feat of aeronautics that the only way to do it any justice is to urge you to read it. For me, the experience of reading the book is like watching some kind of gravity defying wind-up plane float and dart and loop for hours; it's poetry of great complexity that nonetheless feels somehow effortless. The author's frame of reference is extremely wide--Jocasta, Sandy Koufax, Kenneth Patchen, Joe Friday and countless others go sailing by--and you get a gold star if you catch them all on the first read, but at the same time this is a book entirely without pretension. It's poetry for smart people with a sense of humor, one that poets and students of poetry will find immensely interesting, and that, perhaps more impressively, can really open the eyes of readers who generally don't have much interest in contemporary poetry. When a tin birdbot leads you to a lowland gorilla who's had the memories of your dead father implanted in his brain, and who bemoans, among other the things, the fact that death interrupted his writing a teleplay adaptation of "Gravity's Rainbow," you can't help but know you're in the presence of a work, and a writer, that's wholly original.
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Format: Paperback
If you want to learn how to appreciate poetry, or speed up to the state of the art of contemporary American poetry, you want to read this book out loud, body and mind and soul. Kacha, kacha!
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