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Like a Beggar Paperback – March 25, 2014
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From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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In her fifth book of poetry, Bass addresses everything from Saturn’s rings and Newton’s law of gravitation to wasps and Pablo Neruda. Her words are nostalgic, vivid, and visceral. In contemplation of slaughtered chickens, a fly, jellyfish, and the “thousand-pound heart” of the blue whale, Bass arrives at the truth of human carnality rooted in the extraordinary need and promise of the individual. Through Bass’ eyes, a pearly orchid is not unlike the milky thighs of a woman—“blood blooming through her veins”—and the thorax of the wasp “expanding and contracting” has the power to make us aware of our “own shallow breath.” In the exoskeleton of a wasp and in the earth that once fell “ever so slightly . . . toward the apple,” Bass shows us that we are as radiant as we are ephemeral, that in transience glistens resilient history and the remarkable fluidity of connection. By the collection’s end—following her musings on suicide and generosity, desire and repetition—it becomes lucidly clear that Bass is not only a poet but also a philosopher and a storyteller. --Briana Shemroske
About the Author
Ellen Bass was born in Philadelphia in 1947. She is the author of four books of poetry including The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), which was named a Notable Book of 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition, she is co-author of the million-seller Courage to Heal. After a ten-year break from writing to work with survivors of child sexual abuse, Bass felt a calling to return to poetry with the acclaimed Mules of Love (BOA Editions, 2002.) In 1970, she received her master's degree from Boston University, where she studied with Anne Sexton. Her groundbreaking work, No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday) was one of the first anthologies dedicated to poetry written specifically by women. She currently teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University, and lives in Santa Cruz, CA, where she has taught writing and poetry workshops since 1974.