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The Promises of Glass Hardcover – April, 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Palmer's obliquities, resonant mysteries and near approaches to sense have latterly made him one of the poets young, smart aesthetes admire and imitate. This 17th book of poems (following 1998's selected, The Lion Bridge) continues Palmer's familiar and ambitious programs: each of its seven sequences deftly interweaves hints of narrative, bits of landscape description, philosophical proof-lets, personal asides and meditations on why and how we try to represent people, ideas and art. Real people and citiesAthe poet Max Jacob; "you, Jane, and you, Bill"; ParisAjostle Palmer's trademark personages and placesA"the Hypnotist to the Stars," "Quod the Metaphrast," "the Lake of Lost Souls or Last Songs." The title sequence begins with a few poems reprinted from Palmer's At Passages, then finds new frames for the old questions of epistemology and ontologyA"Are you bearing an alphabet/ among the rats in your hold"; "Our time is a between time; best to stay out of it." A short sequence responds to work by the British figurative painter R.B. Kitaj, bringing Palmer as close as he has ever come to directly mimetic description. More than anything else, the poems contemplate the process of contemplation in order to come up with symbols for making symbols: "I became a painter of paintings briefly/ then I eliminated paint." A professional choreographer, Palmer seems to pick up many ideas from dance, and also from the French and Italian contemporary poets he has translated, and from Wittgenstein (on whom his aphorisms can seem parasitic). But Palmer has as many ways of evading "prose sense" as others have of making it. If this collection marks no large-scale departure, his writing is as good here as it has ever beenAsometimes faux-intellectual and self-indulgent, but often superbly strange, sharply provocative, full of slippery acoustic pleasures. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


A meticulous formal innovator, Palmer draws on a varied and elegant structural range, from tightly enjambed short lyrics to spacious, long-lined poems, to hypnotic, journal-like notations....In testing the mysteries and comedies of the language-locked mind, Palmer creates work of muted beauty, slant morality, and a keen, impious compassion. -- Village Voice Literary Supplement

And Sighs Again (autobiography 15)
Anode (20 Xii 94)
Anode (27 Viii 96-26 V 99)
Anode (27 Xii 94)
Autobiography 13
Autobiography 2 (hellogoodby); For A.c.
Autobiography 3
Autobiography 4 (idem)
Autobiography 5
Autobiography 6
Autobiography 7
Autobiography 8
Autobiography 9
Ballad Of Necessities
Five Easy Poems; For Anne-marie Albiach: 1
Five Easy Poems; For Anne-marie Albiach: 2
Five Easy Poems; For Anne-marie Albiach: 3
Five Easy Poems; For Anne-marie Albiach: 4 (mezza Voice)
Five Easy Poems; For Anne-marie Albiach: 5
I Do Not
If Not, Not
In An X
The Metaphysician Of Prague (autobiography 11)
Picture (autobiography 18)
The Promises Of Glass (autobiography 17)
Prose For The World's Body
Quax The Hard Luck Pilot
The Questions Of Crows
Sao Paulo Sighs (autobiography 14)
Second Night Song (autobiography 16)
The Subject (autobiography 12 )
Untitled (may '99)
The White Notebook
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

Indeed, the works in this book aren't facile, and yet they are enjoyable and accessible enough to make you blink. -- The Boston Book Review, Max Winter, September/October 2000

Palmer [is] the most influential avant-gardist working, and perhaps the greatest poet of his generation. -- Voice Literary Supplement, Joshua Clover, 1 May 2000

Possessing dignity even in play like a circus acrobat, Palmer's poetry is both classical and avant-garde. Even more than its music, it emanates silence. -- Common Knowledge

The austerity, poignancy, and mystery of Michael Palmer's visionary new poems recall Paul Celan. -- Marjorie Perloff

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions; First Edition edition (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811214435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811214438
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,539,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Michael Palmer, one of the most influential poets of his generation, continues his trademark of meticulous experimentation here. Such a range of language is in this book. He's one of the poets I recommend most highly for any poetry reader, & this book is very exciting for its slow, deliberate, essentially unique clip.
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By apples on February 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
What a great book. Tremendous sonic intensity. These poems dig down into meaningful spaces without losing their opacity. The poems are at once elegant, playful, cocky, and sly. The writing here has a kind of intellectual generosity--the poems respect the reader's imagination.
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Format: Hardcover
Michael Palmer has crossed the wide ocean of language through its treacherous currents and eddying whirpools he has brought news from the far country, news of the possibility of meaning, of knowledge, even, I imagine, of salvation.
But as in the hero's mythological quest, the poet in search of these lights must submerge himself in the dark wood of the space-without-meaning, the denial of knowing, the dangerous hinges language turns on, the arbitrary construction of meaning in service of politics.
Reading a Michael Palmer poem is like suddenly realizing has wandered into traffic, or unfamiliar territory: language poetry in rhyming couplets, a poem that begins as collage but suddenly "degrades" into narrative, a fragmented work that against its own chaotic urges suddenly coheres. They are wards against the dark, entreaties to light, they are mantras, yogic chants, magic spells, they are the ancient underground exposing themselves in service of human progress.
This new book continues the progression of his work in bold and dangerous directions.
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Format: Hardcover
As advertised
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