June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974-2000

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9780060556174: June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974-2000

Prize-winning poet and New York Times-bestselling author Peter Balakian offers the best of his previous poetry, as well as thirteen new poems.

For three decades, Peter Balakian's poetry has been praised widely in the United States and abroad. He has created a unique voice in American poetry -- one that is both personal and cosmopolitan. In sensuous, elliptical language, Balakian offers a textured poetry that is beautiful and haunting as it envelops an American grain, the reverberations of the Armenian Genocide, and the wired, discordant realities of contemporary life.

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About the Author:

Peter Balakian is the author of Black Dog of Fate, winner of the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for Memoir and a New York Times Notable Book, and June-tree: New and Selected Poems 1974–2000. He is the recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He holds a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University and teaches at Colgate University, where he is a Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities.

From Publishers Weekly:

It should come as no surprise that Balakian best known for his 1997 memoir, Black Dog of Fate, which juxtaposed memories of a 1950's Jersey childhood with the Armenian genocide of 1915 has also born witness to the Armenian genocide in his poetry. Some of his best poems on the subject ("The History of Armenia"; "The Claim") appeared early on in his poetic career, and their reappearance after Black Dog should win them new readers. There are plenty of poems about Balakian's other obsession his New Jersey youth as well as poems about fishing, painters, flowers and families, all of which were well-documented in his four previous poetry collections. The new poems, which kick off this selection, map out familiar terrain, even as the poet acknowledges that he sees "no light.// Just yourself/ staring back at you/ in middle age,// as if the novocaine/ of the sea urchin/ froze your lids." Numbed by "baby-boom melodrama," Balakian's speaker sees himself as an itinerant academic "on sabbatical and looking for/ a place to write." Balakian rises above such poetic haze when writing about events like Woodstock ("And when the Shaman spread his yellow robe like the sun/ he was all teeth and amp"), but more often than not, middle-class boomer angst seems to have run off with the muse, and prosaic sentiment stands in for lyric urgency. (Mar.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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