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Talisman Paperback – April 15, 2014
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
The wisdom and lyric grace in these new poems remind me of all that I have come to love about Lisa C. Krueger’s work. They are quiet, and they hum with precision, like exquisite engines. But they are quick, darting, capable of astounding leaps; they lift off from one place and land in another, and suddenly I realize that I have traveled a great distance upon or within them. Yes, this is the deft and moving work of a poet who has discovered how to coax and unravel the mystery within the everyday. But Talisman also represents a furthering or deepening of Krueger’s poetic agency. She is writing with even greater fearlessness, candor and wit about what it means to be human, to live subject to love, memory, desire, and regret. These poems give me heart. Very often in their lines, I feel the world / opening its arms.’”
Tracy K. Smith
Talisman is a book that begins in tragedy but ends by evoking a strange and secret joy. In between are the formal constraints life brings. Lisa Krueger mirrors these constraints with poems that move inside their own formal considerations with both assurance and amazement. What a pleasure.”
In the first poem of Lisa Krueger’s Talisman, a metal halo is attached to the skull of the poet’s sister, who is thus transformed into a kind of wounded angel, the first of many tutelary spirits whose suffering and strength give this book an unusually profound emotional depth. Krueger’s poems oscillate between life’s grave dualities: sickness and health, marriage and infidelity, loyalty and betrayal. There is no pleasure without a corresponding measure of pain in her poems, where life is balanced on an often-cruel indeterminacy. Her sister’s devastating injury, her daughter’s illness and her mother’s death, are balanced against the birth of her children, and her children’s children, but Krueger is too serious a poet to succumb to an easy reckoning. Her poems do not offer the consolation of a contrived resolution, but they do give us an opportunity to glory in the waste of the world.’”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
We drank from a spring’s
open sky, its thickness awakening
new thirst. Dense tissues
sustained our weight,
cushioned our brash reach,
one person touching another
for restoration, for inheritance
of desire that progressed
in waves of light
through trees, the world
opening its arms.
Get dressed, fire in the sky,
in the spring of water,
all elements undisguised.
We found our clothes then,
went on with our lives.
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