To the Bone: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Illinois Poetry Series)

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9780252065194: To the Bone: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Illinois Poetry Series)
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From Publishers Weekly:

This impressive collection begins with 16 new poems, followed by nine to 15 each from five previous books, 1980-1992. A master of narrative and elegy alike, Lea (The Blainville Testament) writes mostly in an everyday voice about ordinary people in common situations. The 400-line title poem, about a wood-cutting accident, limns the narrator's entire small world. Many poems have a slightly dark cast. In an elegy for a friend, he observes on a hospital tray, "...two dark plums/ which precisely matched/ in color and conformation,/ the raccoon rounds/ of valor and of exhaustion/ through which your eyes peered." Lea imagines a life lived backwards, from death to the womb ("The Light Going Down); in "Horn" he envisions his father, even while facing death, summoning his sons, as he did when they were young, home from play as usual to bed or dinner by blowing a conch shell horn, not ringing the strident porch bell. The book's epigraph is taken from the end of the final poem, which celebrates a wedding anniversary and captures a life in scenes, all "...missing something. How could he know you/ would come, and come the day of which he sings?/ Has gone on singing. Will go on to sing." It captures a life in scenes, all to the reader's continuing pleasure.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

The poetic achievement of Lea, former New England Review editor, is difficult to judge. Lea has explored several styles over the past 15 years, and the arrangement of this selection, which begins with the most recent poems, turns to the earliest poems and advances again to poems of the mid-1990s, confounds the search for poetic development. Hunter, woodsman, spokesman for the unlucky, violent, and vile, Lea favors the concrete images of hardscrabble country life, guns, gray snow, and weeds. His practice is wary of self-conscious beauty or lyricism, and his inclination to forgive and even celebrate difficult people or intolerable situations has gradually become a more explicit Christianity, as in "Peaceable Kingdom" or "Friendship." These very qualities, which tend to make his longer poems diffuse or tendentiously uplifting, give some of the shorter works a restrained elegance: "Now,/ despite the persistence of heat and quarrel...such shinings on water/ are fact. Or sublime." For larger poetry collections.?Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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