Poetry Ann Lauterbach Hum (Penguin Poets)

ISBN 13: 9780143034964

Hum (Penguin Poets)

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9780143034964: Hum (Penguin Poets)

From Hum:

Things are incidental
Someone is weeping

I weep for the incidental
The days are beautiful

Tomorrow was yesterday
The days are beautiful

Since the mid-1970s, Ann Lauterbach has explored the ways in which language simultaneously captures and forfeits our experience. In Hum, her seventh collection of poetry, loss and the unexpected (the title poem was written directly in response to witnessing the events of 9/11) play against the reassurances of repetition and narrative story. By turns elegant, fierce, and sensuous, her musically charged poems move from the pictorial or imagistic to a heightened sense of the aural or musical in order to depict the world humming with vibrations of every kind from every source—the world as a form of life.

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About the Author:

Ann Lauterbach is Ruth and David Schwab III Professor of Language and Literature at Bard College. Her work has received fellowship support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur Foundation. She has published six collections of poetry, including If in Time: Selected Poems 1975-2000.

From Booklist:

A new book of poems and an essay collection showcase the subtle and philosophical work of a rarefied yet captivating poet.

In Hum, Lauterbach taps into both the sensual and the cerebral aspects of consciousness. Her exquisite lyric poems are like lacework, netting feeling and thought, and embodying the inner flickering of light and dark, presence and absence. As Lauterbach gambols between sense and sensibility, elusiveness and lucidity, she sketches a poetic universe similar in topography and weather to that of Stevens and Ashbery. She meditates on the music of Mahler and the art of Botticelli and Gerhard Richter, and, like a particle accelerator, her whirling poems atomize experience. In her most focused and moving poems, Lauterbach, like so many writers, including Jorie Graham in Overlord (2005), traces the concussive emotional effects of 9/11.

The nimble and glimmering essays in The Night Sky offer many insights into Lauterbach's life and poetics. She writes of her journalist father's early death. She muses on the nature of myth, and the difference between information and knowledge. She does write of stars and constellations and the dark, but for all the wonder of the sensuous, she confides that for many poets "language is the material of the world." It is a pleasure to see the forthright and communal side of Lauterbach, the side, one imagines, that inspires her to teach; the source, too, of her gracefully articulate arguments on behalf of poetry and all of art. And how perceptively she marvels over the vitality of today's poetry in spite of its utter neglect by society-at-large, and how eloquently she concludes that art is crucial to living a "life well spent" and to the well-being of a democratic society. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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