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Mule (New Poetry) Paperback – November 29, 2010
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Some books come down like gods dying to transform us out of our empty, shattered lives. Mule,/i> is such a book. Never shying away from sudden confusions of pain and beauty, Shane McCrae's questions are not why so much pain? why so much beauty? but, instead, how can they remake us? McCrae's is a living, breathing poetry made of wisdom and wrenching song. --Katie Ford
This astonishing, extremely beautiful book is, in a way, a new twist on the epithalamion, tracing the innumerable and inescapable marriages that fissure our lives. And it traces them with an eerie repetitive force that, while echoing the edgier experiments of Modernism, still manages to feel utterly unfamiliar. It's a book both haunted and haunting possessed by sound and its tremendous momentum, that somehow-suspended momentum, hypnotic in its rhythms and compelling in its headlong fall into the truth of the heart. --Cole Swenson
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Top Customer Reviews
Shane McCrae is a much-needed voice in contemporary poetry, as his poems are both heartbreaking and inspiring. This book will leave you both hurting and healing, in places you never knew you could feel.
I cut my poetic teeth, back in high school, on the dadas and the surrealists, thanks to Michael Benedikt's anthology The Poetry of Surrealism (a text that desperately needs to come back into print; to this day some of the translations in there, especially the late Michael Hamburger's, are my favorites of the poems in question). As a result, I've generally been less impressed with the whole autobiographical/confessional school of Whitman descendants that seem to rule American poetry. The exceptions—Bukowski, Richard Siken, a few others—are those whose poetic style is distinctive enough that at times it seems to overcome the material. Shane McCrae, whose Mule is exactly that sort of thing (a book about courtship, marriage, and divorce), is one of those poets. Mule practically bleeds style, and while I'm not one to complain when style gets in the way of substance (e.g. my review of Timothy Donnelly's Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit, a book no one else I know gets), it should be noted that at no point does McCrae ever lose sight of his subject matter here.
“We married on a speeding train the roof
Fighting with knives a speeding train we were
Fighting each other stabbing through the roof
The windows but where were the passengers
Stabbing each other full of holes but no
Blood and no bones the knives slipped through our bod-
ies and we didn't lose our balance...”
(--”[We Married on a Speeding Train]”)
I don't think it would be a spoiler alert to tell you that this will not end well.
This is McCrae's first book, but it doesn't feel like a first book; this is accomplished poetry with a strong voice from a guy who knows what he's doing. If this is the beginning of his career, then he should be fearsome by the time we get to the middle of it. ****
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really, really beautiful and vulnerable debut collection. It's humane, honest, and vivid. I've also really appreciated the syntactical playfulness and gentle... Read morePublished 11 months ago by DWH
Powerful. The poetry feels raw, despite being carefully and deliberately crafted. McCrae's phrasing and syntax is unconventional, but the poems are surprisingly intuitive to read. Read morePublished 11 months ago by s0ckeyeus