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My Father Says Grace: Poems First Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1557288370
ISBN-10: 1557288372
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The first poem in this collection, which lends the book its title, is a treasure. Platt excels at taking a modest human, often familial, moment and exploding it to reveal the dense possibilities within. When his father, stricken with Alzheimer's, attempts to say grace but emits only "jabbering . . . his fuses all blown," Platt constructs a litany of all that he might be saying: "Praise be / to the salt / in its shaker for it brings out the truest taste of whatever / we eat" and "Glory be to the body, switchboard / that will finally / shut down." The rest of the book lives up to this grand opening, offering expansive long poems in eccentric triplets--one long, sweeping line sandwiched between two brief ones--that well captures the way ordinary life both confines and frees us. Whether writing about family birthdays or Janis Joplin, Platt shows life's pain, and its iridescence. Patricia Monaghan
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“This is a book of the highest lyric ambitions. Almost every poem, however plain-spoken its subject, sets itself challenges of language and order which are met head on. On almost every page there is a marvelous to-and-fro between darkness of loss—a father’s approaching death, a brother’s vulnerability—and the exuberance of language, the sheer eloquence of organization which are no less than their due. These are wonderful poems; they make superb, wrenching reading.” —Eavan Boland, author of Outside History: Selected Poems, 1980–1990 and Domestic Violence “Donald Platt’s poems are fearless and generous aria-narratives, each distilling complex essences into a single, telling scene; through their attentive particularities, universal colors emerge. The abiding affirmation in Donald Platt’s work is that whatever exists must be made welcome and known. The result is an optimistic book, full of compassion, interest, and sheen, in an age when an unblended optimism is much needed.” —Jane Hirshfield, author of Given Sugar, Given Salt and After “Grief-struck and world-adoring, these poems—in their gorgeous and distinctive swelling and contracting tercets—say grace for a family struggling with a father's stroke and dementia, a brother's Down syndrome, a mother-in-law's terminal cancer. My Father Says Grace constructs its layer on layer of elegy in a fugue-like structure, with tenderness, humor, and startling intimacy. Platt's poems move beyond the personal circumstances of illness, loss, and proleptic grief toward something like an autobiographical metaphysics, meditating unflinchingly on a world of aging, death, and loss and saying, in its own devastating way, yes and amen.” --Bruce Beasley, author of Lord Brain and The Corpse

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press; First edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557288372
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557288370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 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: #3,301,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Some of the finest poetry ever written has its origin in the common human experience of coping with adversity. The poetry by Donald Platt comprising "My Father Says Grace" draws for its inspiration and subject matter struggling with such issues as a father's stroke and dementia, a mother-in-law's cancer, a brother's Down syndrome, as well as lesser matters of loss that are universal to us all. Platt's deftly crafted free verse poetry is rooted in an ultimate but clear-headed optimism as his lyrics deal with illness, loss, grief, aging, and death. "My Father Says Grace" is a remarkable body of work and strongly recommended reading -- especially for anyone struggle with similar issues of their own. 'Mirage': Because my mother's eyes have been failing from gradually progre4ssing/glaucoma, she doesn't see the dust that shrouds//all the mirrors in her house/with its fine gray veil. I look into the two hazy oval mirrors/that gaze down//over my parents' double dresser from their frames/of bird's eye/maple. Sunk deep in their silver shallows,//a woman combs her wavy auburn hair and rubs cold cream into/her smooth//cheeks, which will slowly erode to old age's arroyos, waiting/for the winter/rains to fill and flood the dry washes. A man adjusts//his loud tie,/carefully tightening its noose. He kisses her neck and hands her/from behind his back//a prink rose freaked with yellow, which she puts in a bud vase/before the mirrors, where//its wilting flame become doubled, then gutters. Two brothers sneak//into their parents'/ bedroom and jump up and down on the forbidden bed/in weightless//ecstasy. The boy I once was stands naked and holds up his mother's/hand mirror/to the larger mirrors, so that he can see what his back and buttocks//look like,/ the secret cleft, those two globes like the flesh of a flushed, silvery/peach. We are//dust on the surface of an old mirror. What hand will wipe it clean/and clear/to reveal ourselves, ripples rising from the black asphalt's heat?
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By Polly on August 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't fairly review this book because he's my nephew, but I think it's very good, as were his earlier books.
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By CB on October 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Exquisite. Narrative poetry, tremulously lyrical.
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