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Strange Pietà (Walt McDonald First-Book Series) Paperback – April 15, 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Fink is editor of the Walt McDonald First-Book Poetry Series and director of creative writing workshops at Hardin-Simmons University
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Product Details

  • Series: Walt McDonald First-Book Series
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press (April 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896725448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896725447
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,058,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on August 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
_Strange Pieta_ is a tour de force of craft, lyricism, and imaginative reach. The poems addressed to Fraser's brother Jonathan, born with spina bifida, will certainly interest readers involved in disability studies, but the appeal of this book is broader than any particular subject or person. The poems are wise, angry, tender, unforgiving of human cruelty but richly generous in their understanding of frailty and their desire for connection. The precision of Fraser's language, his daring leaps of wit and image, and the profundity of his insights into love, desire, and loss--all combine for a stunningly beautiful first collection.
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By A Customer on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Fraser's book is a tight rope act: on one side lies the easily sentimentalized; on the other, the cold unflinching truth of his brother, born with spina bifida. His poems, by being at once repelling in their candor and compelling in their humility, take enormous risks. From the beginning lines of the first poem, "Ars Poetica," Fraser calls into question any artistic posturing: "All poetry begins," he declares boldly, "with my brother's legs." What follows is an imaginative return to the womb where his brother is transported to "the light of his becoming" when he was merely a "run-on sentence of flesh, / until the dark germ rode, dormant fate for steed, along / [his] spine, flung the false logic of his DNA, dragged / him down." Such a mixed bag of metaphors is typical of Fraser's more lyrical moments. Fraser, however, gets away with yoking the odd metaphors together, the sheer intensity of the moment able to override any quibbles we might have with the apparent incongruousness of the poetic machinery. And if the aesthetic gravitas of a loaded word such as "light" appears part of a familiar landscape, Fraser refocuses the lens a handful of lines later: "Making light is easy. Watch: / half-wit, numbskull, saphead, lamebrain, nincompoop, dope." Fraser's is the voice of someone speaking from the far end of the lived and of the living. He speaks not with well-intentioned sympathy but with a terrorizing tedium able to anticipate most any taunt aimed at his brother. And as poetry itself offers no consolation, Fraser also bids "farewell to verse that rollicks by light's name."
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Format: Hardcover
A breathtaking journey. For the theorist, Strange Pieta enriches the discourse in disability theory. For the common reader, Fraser provides a heartfelt and emotional look into his brother's life, a life that has always been deeply intertwined with his own. Emotion and wit never ceases to flow from Strange Pieta's pages.
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