- Hardcover: 88 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (May 15, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374299307
- ISBN-13: 978-0374299309
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,088,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wideawake Field: Poems 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Named for a WWII airbase in the South Atlantic used by the U.S., journalist Eliza Griswold's poetic debut tracks round-trip missions through disaster, both personal and national, from the aftermath of a crumbled marriage to the minefields of the Middle East. Five sections alternate between home and away, exchanging familiar landscapes for foreign battlefields and finding displacement and disappointment in both. An award-winning foreign correspondent, Griswold writes terse poems that unfortunately too often bear the uncomfortable and worn trope of the observer. Other cultures are pressed into the singsong of iambic rhythms and hard rhymes: The prostitutes in Kabul tap their feet/ beneath their faded burqas in the heat./ For bread or fifteen cents, they'll take a man to bed—/ their husbands dead, their seven kids unfed. In the collection's strongest pieces, the speaker turns her unsparing eye on the rubble of her own relationships, as in October, when she softly admits, I mourn you sometimes/ in places you would have been. Though the speaker travels great distances in these poems, the imagination does not; while investigating the complex ruins of war and love, Griswold attempts to snap each poem shut with a summation or moral, often to diminutive effect. (May)
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"Evidently this new poet has loved and lost (though of such loving, it is the losing which is disclosed), a good show for lyric verse, as the old poets have demonstrated; but equally evident is Ms Griswold's engagement in the world's woes, even her possession of them. Such double-dealing results in a distillation of political ressentiment which is a novelty in the annals of our poetry of passion. Who conceives Dickinson conferring an instant of her attention on what occurred at Gettysburg; indeed who expects the accents of Christina Rossetti to sort with the collective griefs of, say, Darfur? Yet hear Griswold:
I'm embarrassed to remember
the time before I grew
uncertain about you,
and that I had a right to say
where I had been
and what I saw there.
We must salute the achievement of this poetry not for novelty alone, but for its immediacy of feeling, its recognition of defeat, its stoic joy." --Richard Howard
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