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Recovered Body Paperback – August, 1998

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Cairns (Figures of the Ghost, Univ. of Georgia, 1994) is a religious poet, a spiritual poet, but most importantly a serious poet. He is not given to rehashing scripture or invoking prayer?he does both, in his own way, but in service to a greater goal. These poems seek not answers but understanding and an appreciation of life's complexities; the result is not so much a poetry of testimony as of investigation. Cairns reconsiders the biblical narratives that define his being in works like "The Death of Moses," "The Sacrifice of Isaac," "Jonah's Imprisonment," and "The Turning of Lot's Wife." In the latter poem, Marah is "unlike her husband" and remains faithful: "For even as the man fled the horrors of a city's conflagration...Marah saw that she could not turn her back on even one doomed child of the city, but must turn her back instead on the saved." Recommended.?Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Scott Cairns has the imaginative power and verbal grace to resurrect a deadened world-relocating the sacred in the body where it belongs. -- Eleanor Wilner

Scott Cairns is one of the best poets alive. -- Annie Dillard

Writing in fervor-not piety-as a poet writes in verse-not doggerel-Cairns brings to mind Nietzche's remark that we have Art that we may not perish from Truth. Cairns has Religion that he may not perish from Poetry. -- Richard Howard
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: George Braziller Inc; 1st edition (August 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807614378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807614372
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on May 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Erotic, holy, erudite, and deeply moving! I love how Cairns engages both metaphysical mystery and sensual materiality in a single amazing moment, in a single turn of phrase--as in "Loves" when Magdalen observes "All loves are bodily, require that the lips part, and press their trace of secrecy upon the one beloved." I'd say the visionary has returned to American poetry.
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Format: Paperback
As I began this volume, I prepared myself to be disappointed. The first section "Deep Below Our Violences" consists of poems that are well written with an interesting mix of topics and forms. However, they say little about the world and humanity that is not common poetic parlance. "Alexandrian Fragments" uses the burning of the library in Alexandria as its primary image; "Archaeology: A Subsequent Lecture" uses a dig; "Interval with Erato" a sensual/sexual encounter with the muse ...
The second section "The Recovered Midrashim of Rabbi Sab", in contrast, shows a very inventive poet writing distinctive, meaningful prose poems. "YHWH's Image" presents an image of Time which pauses, twitches its tail, opens it's eyes while God creates creates humanity in his own image, a precise image molded in clay on God's body. "The Turning of Lot's Wife" shows the wife as the compassionate one: "... she could not turn her back on even one doomed child of the city, but must turn her back instead upon the saved." "In the Well of Joseph's Brief Despair" presents the view of the world from the bottom of the well - and its continuing effect on Joseph after his life was spared.
The final section "Supplications" presents two strong themes - Hebrew vs. Greek thought patterns and the value of body. The topics supporting these themes include religious stylites (monks living on small, high platforms, the harrowing of hell, the death of the crucified man headed for paradise, Mary Magdalen ... in these poems the same formal strengths appear that appear in the first section. However, here Cairns more frequently has something uncommon to say.
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Format: Paperback
I'm no convert, but I must say the charm and candor of these poems (not to mention the music and craft of the poems themselves) have me rethinking some of my knee-jerk dismissal of that old story. I'd heard he was a CHRISTIAN poet, but I didn't know he was also a POET. Amazing work.
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By A Customer on October 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
Cairns' best work yet. Personal highlights from the collection: "Interval with Erato" "The Estuary" "Short Trip to the Edge." Sweet, special work.
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I'm only beginning to explore Cairns' poetry and so far I like what I've read. He is thoughtful and yet possessed of a dry sense of humor that keep his poems from being weighed down. In this collection, the poems work together to nudge the reader towards a better appreciation of physical humanity. Cairns recognizes that the body is a good thing, and yet is painfully aware of how we seek to cover it up. My understanding is that Cairns goal in his poetry is to respect the necessary coverings of the body while trying to appreciate it anew-hence the title. I highly recommend this book.
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