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Otherwise Elsewhere: Poems Paperback – December 21, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The signature poem in this exuberant fifth book from Rivard (Sugartown) announces "a plural happiness—I feel encouraged for all/ within range." In his fast-paced, irregular, and superbly assembled free verse, in effusions and snapshots, hot pursuits of teen memories and spiky commitments to adult life, Rivard makes joy and satisfaction aesthetically interesting. He illustrates them with scenes from family life (his partner, Michaela, and daughter, Simone, appear again and again, by name), counterweights them with serious regrets, and flaunts his delight in over-the-top similes: "Like a bit of shoelace snapped-off/ and tied back on by tight knot, frayed/ each of us lives attached/ to the ridiculousness of suffering." Boston resident Rivard sounds always urbane, unmistakably American: "the whole city seems to lift then out of a footprint,/ all of it timed impeccably/ for a break in the clouds—swinging blue sky, open door." Rivard's jazzy line breaks and as-if-improvised textures might recall August Kleinzahler, or Hayden Carruth, but his attitudes, and his rapid pace, are his own: "every swollen little/ fleabite & every helium-filled balloon, every/ dining car & bright hothouse" suggests to him that "happiness is still there." (Dec.)
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Review

“A restless, original talent. The poems I've seen rank him in my mind as one of the best poets now writing.” ―TOM SLEIGH, citation for the 2006 O. B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize on David Rivard
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (December 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555975739
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555975739
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,555,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
If I am tempted very much to say that I admire the complexity and depth of Rivard's poetry, I can only do so while giving even greater recognition to the deftness with which he constructs these pieces, the way the layers are laid out line after line with a subtlety that is its own kind of wit. What is enviable is that this wit is a finely-honed wit but Rivard leaves no trace of his labor, gives no impression of laborious `craftwork' endured to reach this particular landscape.

That is all to say the kind of rich, detailed kind of attention fueling the imaginative effort throughout these poems seems quite effortless despite the often brilliant turns his lines take, his metaphors often surprising not with an element of juxtapositions that seem to form the strangest of neighbors and only that, but that the strangeness is never all that strange. We wonder if they haven't been neighbors all along and most importantly, why didn't we see them before Rivard revealed them to us, as if he had been given a special tour of this landscape?
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Format: Paperback
Facing the world is a daunting task without the aid of those who matter to you, and for some, without Christ. "Otherwise Elsewhere" is a collection of poetry from David Rivard with a simple message about the comforts of life that lie all around us. With a unique voice and plenty of powerful messages, "Otherwise Elsewhere" is a fine pick for poetry collections. "Whose Country, Mine or Theirs?: It's a problem as small/as a birch leaf blown against a window screen--/this clinging bit of green/inside of which at the end of day/you can see a forest crossroad & a dim figure halfway/between a so-called Zion & a wired so-called Babylon,/tho whether he is being carried away or is returning from captivity/that is unclear/in those smoking piney-woods/he appears to be/waiting to be fed--after which the leaf will fall.
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"Otherwise Elsewhere" is a fine work of poetry. I recommend it for several poems, notably "Townie Gossip" and "For Lynda Hull." "Townie Gossip" is a real find. A welcome introduction to the poet.

Allen Hagar
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