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Wake (Iowa Poetry Prize) Paperback – March 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The world fleshed forth in oil paint, from Giotto to Joseph Albers, is meticulously essayed in the mixed-genre ekphraseis of Swensen's sixth full-length collection since 1984. Though the medieval and early Renaissance tableaux she focuses on are almost entirely composed in the restricted vocabulary of Christian iconography, Swensen regards them with a worldly eye, using her role as "translator" of the worksAfrom religious past to secular present, from image to textAto explore an ethics of human immanence. Addressing herself to one in a countless string of mid-millenium representations of "the Flight into Egypt," for instance, Swensen finds "that the holy family enters not a heavenly but a very worldly world, a world just like ours except that it's not and that it can't be reached." As with the gulf between the visual and the verbal dimensions, what the mind posits as an inviolable border ("it can't be reached"), the body is ever violatingAtranslating, tryingAin practice. In a literally unguarded moment, the intangible yields to an insatiably human craving for contact: "She touched the painting/ as soon as the guard// turned his back." This illicit gesture discloses the very essence of Swensen's project, her daring try at a communion of flesh and canvas, word and image, art and life. FYI: Try was one of three works awarded the Iowa Poetry Prize in 1998, along with Bin Ramke's Wake ($10.95 136p ISBN 0-87745-658-5) and Kathleen Peirce's The Oval Hour ($10.95 96p ISBN 0-87745-664-X).
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"Within the circuits of a dark eloquence, Bin Ramke has found a way to locate a self within the bonds of history and in so doing has broken those bonds into a new 'conspiracy of dazzle.' If knowledge is form--and it is--here is a poetry that everywhere shows us what it knows and leads us into a stunned gratitude." -- Ann Lauterbach

& The War In France
And The Light Never Waned In The Same Way Twice
Another Lean, Unwashed Artificer
Body Parts (1968): Art
Body Parts (1968): History
Body Parts (1968): Theology
Enter Celia, With A Writing
Famous Poems Of The Past Explained
Grass Fires
A Great Noise The World Makes
A History Of His Heart
A History Of Tenderness
How Light Is Spent
A Little Ovid Late In The Day
Livery Of Seisin
Pretty Words, Parabolas
The Ruined World
Sad Stories
Shostakovich And Kubatsky In Archangel
Small Noise The Weather Makes
Someone Whispers Below In The Garden
A Theory Of Fantasy
Toy Houses In The Landscape
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

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Product Details

  • Series: Iowa Poetry Prize
  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877456585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877456582
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,284,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Some would say that the American Avant-garde is dead, especially in the more academic poets. Yet, Ramke creates a dialogue between the peoms as the poet envisions them, the works that inspired the poems, the language itself, and the reader. Although not as radical or obscure as collage poets like Charles Olson or d.a. levy, Ramke words are sandwiched and juxtaposed by quations and allusions. The result is a center freedom and flow that manifest in his poems, especially in "The Ruined World and "Testimony." Ramke also does what few poets have done well in the past decade or so, write peoms that break three and four pages and still sustain. Although, the shorter lyric of his earlier work still makes a wonderful splash in this collection--see "& the War in France" and "How Light is Spent"--the power of this collection is in the longer poems.
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