- Hardcover: 89 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (April 20, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375404856
- ISBN-13: 978-0375404856
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,848,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Radiance of Pigs: Poems Hardcover – April 20, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Divided into a triptych, this sixth collection opens with the poet looking back on Childhood, moves on to a private Hades and finally re-emerges through a hard-won Resurrection. For Rice, all affections are fixed by the age of 12long experience teaches us only how to love at the end what you loved/ At the beginning. He playfully rejects Yeatss desire to be hammered gold and longs to be mercury instead (When I Grow Up). Such modest claims make for gem-like lyrics at their best, and reflexive self-examination at their worst. A heros journey, the book has gloriously wry moments, as in Early Spring, which comes After flesh falters, after/ The eyes we knew look at us/ As a stranger./ Its early spring again./ Natures voluptuous skeleton/ Sits up! Many of the poems seem tonally akin to childrens verse, as in Mother Butterfly: Stay busy, Mother, you/ White butterfly,/ Whose only friend,/ The brown butterfly, is dead. Or as in A Black Cat: Cats dont shake dry / Like a dog. Not this/ Cat, this day. Froze,/ And hissed, /What I have missed I have missed. The title of this collection itself suggests a marriage of innocence and experience, an ambition fulfilled in a poem like His Life Story, which concludes with the metamorphosis of a Prince who Fell from his armchair/ Like dogfood,/ Kuh-shlop./ Relieved of his rodeo buckle./ Lowered into the honeysuckle. These poems are the kind of lowering from which one looks up with a grin.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
"Yes, it is surreal," insists Rice, describing the passage of time on the opening page of The Radiance of Pigs, his sixth book of poetry. By turns compelling, grotesque, and poignant, Rice's work chronicles the tripartite structure of his life (Childhood, Hades, and Resurrection) in nightmarishly unforgettable imagery: "blood-splashed" butter or snowmen made of "crystal vomit." Rice perceives a world of terrifying beauty where sex becomes a "black pig in a peach" and spring arrives when "silver lipstick is/ On the Japanese plum." In this refigured world, Latin is spoken in pickup trucks, a venue where Rice finds himself "meeting Satan in the parking lot." The key characters in this poetical autobiography are the poet's famous wife, Anne, and his dead father (the subject of bizarre and oddly moving elegies, "Don't Put Him in the Freezer" and "Dad Is Dead"). Readers will readAand rereadAthese poems because of their strange beauty and uncompromising honesty: "The experience isn't the vision./ Writing about it is the vision." Highly recommended for all poetry collections.ADaniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Fact is, there are plenty of equally talented poets out there who dont happen to be married to someone who can call in a favor or have a personal chat with the poetry editor at Knopf...but thats the breaks. As I well know, the difference between being published and being unknown is more often than not a matter of being in the right place at the right time, of who you know, and of who knows you, than it is a matter of talent.
Stan Rice married well--but he did it before Anne Rice became ANNE RICE. He was double-lucky in that regard. He met the woman he loved and then she became world-famous. You cant blame him for that.
That all said: *The Radiance of Pigs* is a book of poems well-worth reading. Stark, surreal, sometimes shocking, Rice's work has an electric intensity that is rare among poets routinely published today. You wont find the typical quiet musings and sentimental reminiscences about Dads fishing pole or Aunt Bettys Alzheimers disease, tedious philosophical narratives about infidelity, divorce, and traffic jams that seem to be the staple of contemporary American poetry. Rice's poems have the unmistakeable spiritual immediacey of a man who was wrestling with demons and walking beside angels--and for whom everything was, indeed, imbued with a radiance, even the pigs.
Someone, I think it might have been Vallejo, said that a poem should make one's senses come alive as if one were sitting in a dark room with a snake in the corner. Thats what the poems in this collection do. And, as a poet, you cant do better than that.
Btw...you should check out Stan Rice's website. He was a painter as well as a writer and has produced some truly striking visual work. Its a shame that he is no longer on our side of the earths crust.
Poetry is music, and there is music for the infinite tastes and desires of all people.
Stan's work is powerful, strickingly honest, with often dreamlike qualities questioning all things taken for granted. He has always remained genuine and strong in his delivery and insites.
And each of his books becomes more and more of its own world, you marval nervously as you dare to enter!