Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Viper Rum Hardcover – April, 1998
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Library Journal
It takes hubris to preface a negative critique of one's contemporaries with 45 pages of one's own verse, but Karr is a strong enough writer to pull it off. The Liar's Club (Viking, 1995), her best-selling memoir of growing up in Texas, is credited with having revived a genre; her third collection takes readers over much of the same autobiographical terrain-family, broken relationships, alcoholism, and suicide. This is confessional writing that conjures up the physical world: "On the mudroad of plodding American bodies/ my son wove like an antelope from stall/ to stall and want to want. I no'ed it all." The clarity and passion here are what Karr finds lacking in the overelaborate work of some of her colleagues, as she explains in the essay "Against Decoration," which first appeared in the journal Parnassus. Sharp and well written, it attacks, unfairly at times, the so-called neoformalists, language poets, James Merrill, Amy Clampitt, and John Ashbery (readers may wonder what Karr makes of Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, or Lewis Carroll). Ironically, one of the best poems here, about a Stairmaster, is almost Merrill-esque. Highly recommended anyway.?Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Beauty And The Shoe Sluts
The Century's Worst Blizzard
Dead Drunk (or The Monster-maker At Work)
Field Of Skulls
Four Of The Horsemen
The Grand Miracle
Incant Against Suicide
The Invention Of God In A Mouthful Of Milk
The Last Of The Brooding Miserables
Limbo: Altered States
Mr. D. Refuses The Blessing
Requiem For The New Year
Revenge Of The Ex-mistress
Summons (or This Won't Hurt You A Bit, And It'll Cheer Me Up)
The Wife Of Jesus Speaks
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®
Hardboiled, hardedged, hardbitten--these are consummately American adjectives, and peculiarly American literary postures. Mary Karr's bracing, tight-lipped poems bring these terms to mind, but it's a credit to her probity and her prickly intelligence that one stops short of defining her by them. Avowedly unsentimental, Karr doesn't overcompensate by striking exaggerated poses of disabused wisdom or affecting mandarin disdain for the muddle of human relations. But like the late laureate of desolation [Larkin]..., Karr evidently holds that 'suffering is exact.' -- Poetry
Karr is an unsentimental realist whose capacity for pleasure and praise is all the more convincing for her clear-eyed view of contingency. -- The Harvard Book Review
Karr's grim wit and compressed, charged language seldom fail in Viper Rum's twenty-nine poems. -- The Hudson Review, Robert McDowell
Readers of The Liars' Club will find poetic versions of some of the same autobiographical material. -- Chicago Tribune
The poems of Viper Rum may be blunt for bluntness' sake, but they are not exploitative. -- The Georgia Review, Judith Kitchen
[A] terrific, plot-driven collection concerning themes that include alcoholism, religious belief, death, love, family, salvation, transformation....One cannot help but cheer. -- I>Harvard Review , Tina Barr
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Once, some years ago, a poet who was part of an online writer's news group (called, with great originality, "TheWriters Group,"sent me two poems that I told her were ready to submit. "How do you know?" she asked.
I told her, I'm the quintessential English major. I read poetry avidly before going to college and never stopped. I also told her I'm one of the few people I know who does include it as part of my regular reading diet (not that poetry doesn't have a vibrant subculture, it does ). Anyway, she sent them out and Ploughshares published them.
That just means that I know the good stuff when I see it and Mary Karr writes poetry that you'll read again and again and remember.
The opening poem, Viper Rum, is a word symphony - but Karr is never overly "poetic" or decorative. Her work sings with the sound of real life.
Viper Rum includes my favorite love poem of all times: "Summons: Or this won't hurt you a bit and it'll cheer me up." The last line is a poetic kicker.
She can be very funny as in "Revenge of the Ex-Mistress," and "Mr. D Refuses the Blessing."
And she can evoke darkly ironic moments as in a poem about suicide that might tell you more about David Foster Wallace, with whom she had a short, torrid, stormy affair, than the entire bio written about him - even if she didn't mean it about Wallace.
I love this book the way I love Russell Edson and Charles Simic and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Elizabeth Bishop and Mary Oliver.
I reread it frequently.
No 'decoration' here - the poems prove that the poet's ideas presented in the essay "Against Decoration" (at the back of this book) work very well.
The idea of poetry is a wonderful thing. At some point in childhood I was taught that poetry consists of beautiful words which cut to the core of the matter and which strongly, easily move the reader's emotions in few words. This idea really stuck with me, but I have never found a poet who so completely fulfilled it (few even came close, really) until I read Mary Karr.