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Water Becomes Bone (First Book) Paperback – April 1, 2000

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"At times dreamlike, at times sharply rendered, as lapidarian as precious gems, these haunting poems by C. Mikal Oness resound with deft subtleties, fine wit, and striking imagery. In them, Oness confronts our collective desires and fears, our human quandaries, as he delves into the essence of both mundane and cosmic mysteries. Along the way , he explores longing, impermanence, the fragility of our human comforts, the elusiveness of art, and the transmutations that occur between nature and being, death and transcendence. Oness's poems echo the succinct and tantalizing conundrums of Anglo-Saxon riddles, the soul's yearning of Rumi, and the word-playing delight of Gertrude Stein. These poems are small treasures-rich in nuance and song, emotionally complex, resonant and lasting." -- Maurya Simon

"The spare, elegant poems in Water Becomes Bone confront with unusual clarity the joys and the anguish of living with others. The contradictions of this considered life-a son's affections and a son's rage, the bones moving gracefully under a child's skin and the bones of another child resting under the earth-are considered with honesty and with a wrenching beauty. These contradictions are sometimes resolved, sometimes not, but each is confronted with wonder, reverence and awe. Oness is a fisherman, and there are poems in this collection that will have anglers pulling on their waders. This book is like a clear pool you can cast into again and again; every poem is a keeper." -- Gary Young

Review

“The spare, elegant poems in Water Becomes Bone confront with unusual clarity the joys and the anguish of living with others. The contradictions of this considered life––a son's affections and a son's rage, the bones moving gracefully under a child's skin and the bones of another child resting under the earth––are considered with honesty and with a wrenching beauty. These contradictions are sometimes resolved, sometimes not, but each is confronted with wonder, reverence and awe. Oness is a fisherman, and there are poems in this collection that will have anglers pulling on their waders. This book is like a clear pool you can cast into again and again; every poem is a keeper.” (Gary Young)
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Series: First Book
  • Paperback: 73 pages
  • Publisher: New Issues Poetry & Prose; 1st edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 093282689X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932826893
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,682,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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By A Customer on May 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
In the manner of a regular evening stroll, Oness' Water Becomes Bone establishes a rhythm of image and tone. The short poems are like those brief, meaningful conversations we long for, in average days. Topics are revisited. A little more is exposed each time. The tagents return to a center which is an organic attuning to the birds, plants, fish, life and death around us. There is an extreme sensitivity in these poems that threatens to break out, but is grounded in the perspective of responsibility felt by the father, husband, teacher, and, above all, that of a poet, careful of his words. This book belongs among those of the great American Naturalists, such as William Carlos Williams and Gary Snyder.
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By A Customer on October 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
In Water Becomes Bone, Chad Oness sets out upon the difficult task of forging a poetic that exists in the nexus of lyric and narrative. These are difficult poems which tell succinct, emotional stories as if they were single, illuminative flashes. I couldn't help but be reminded of Wordsworth's "spots of time" when considering the nature of Oness's work. His poems single out moments 'in' time (i.e. lyric), amplifying them with a combination of brio and grace, while at the same time allowing each poem to hold within it the steady course 'of' time (i.e. narrative). Out of this, his collection evolves into a luminous yet chiseled set of memories by which the poetic voice continually revises its own idea of itself--or of selfhood--as well as its idea of how the world is perceived. Whether the poet turns his eye to the sleek stippled bodies of trout or a young child running playful circles around a father, there is a double vision: a world of palpable surfaces--paper, flesh, water, family--underneath which run the barely discernable but equally felt currents of pain and longing. But Oness, in much more elegant and poignant language, says what I've just written above: in "Pointer," a father instructs a child, almost consolingly, in how to write the language it can already speak: "We spell it this way, but pronounce it the same." And so we too, like children, discover disjunctions between the world we know and our ability to articulate that knowledge, and this is what Oness teaches us. This is, of course, the work all poetry is meant to do but too often doesn't. I found it refreshing and moving to come across someone as skilled as Oness really doing it, and making it beautiful.
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By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love the combination of tenderness and restraint in these poems. They imply a world beyond the world we commonly know. The poems are filled with images of anger and beauty. Family life, fishing, the natural world and the world of words are woven together with passion and clarity.
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By A Customer on September 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
This wispy breathless kind of poetry could only come out of the WORKSHOP world--where preciousness rules. Ugh.
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By A Customer on November 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
it's hard to take seriously (as poetry at least) the completely tone-deaf lines (if that's what they are) and the utterly sentimental emotional posings of this book
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