Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Nomina (American Poets Continuum) Paperback – April 1, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
In her previous collection, Spar (2002), Volkman stripped away the formal conventions of lineated verse (as well as overtly stated subject matter) to explore what a poem could say in prose, using rhythm, sound and tone as her principal tools of meaning-making. In this third collection, a sequence of 50 untitled, rhymed sonnets, she takes her interrogation of the poem as formal machine a step further, using English poetry's most famous form as her guide. Like her prose poems, these sonnets are concerned with love and some notion of a higher, or other, power, or at least with the capacity of language to bridge the gap between addressor and addressee, seeking a nascent book/ in which the wind has written. Channeling Emily Dickinson, the poems are at once fierce, ravished, perplexed and perplexing (If final fell/.../ would time annul the zero in the laws?), gesturing toward sense, never quite making it, yet mysteriously giving and withholding enough to keep the reader in their thrall. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Poetry International #17
―Poetry International #17
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Instead, I read about Ms. Volkman's work. (I cannot now remember where.) I read that this collection of hers is sonnets that really push the envelope with the form. As a great fan of the sonnet, I thought I had much to gain by checking this one out, but I didn't come away with much.
Clearly, Ms. Volkman is a very intelligent person with poetic talent; however, she does too many things that rub me the wrong way. She often uses short, choppy phrasing which detracts from the form, in my opinion. She has a powerful vocabulary but too often uses obscure and/or obsolete words which tend to hide meaning. She often pushes the use of alliteration to the breaking point. And, since I'm being picky, I tend to dislike poems without titles. (I don't know why. It's a personal thing. I just don't like it.)
That's not to say that there aren't some great turns of phrase here: "teardrops scoring their lesions/ in every substance that grieves", "Night is what she saw,/ in opaque increments deafening the tongue". My favorite poem is probably "A premise, a solace" which seems to have a wholeness that some of the other poems lack in addition to its beautiful, descriptive language.
Still, in the end, I felt that reading her poetry was too much work for too little rewards. I like to work for my poetic insights, but even I run out of patience sometimes.
grass-grown remembrance of a second look
the field holds open like a nascent book
in which the wind has written, Sudden strays,
sudden numbers beat-the roots of days
branched intangibles a stupor took
and slept and stroked and scattered in a shook
Can this really be taken seriously?
The field holds open like a "nascent book"?
"branched intangibles of a stupor took
and slept and stroked and scattered in a shook?
It may be that that this poet has taken on the burden of a form whose weight she is not quite ready to bear. The sonnet is not a matter of counting on the fingers, though I wish her well as her talents grow.