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"Impressive. A box full of surprises and intense delights."―Billy CollinsThe insomniac speakers in Halflife are coming of age in a mythical world full of threat and promise. Seeking their true selves amid the fallen cathedrals of America, they speak wryly of destructive love affairs, aesthetic obsession, and encroaching war, but refuse to abandon hope in the power of imagination.
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Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the collections Halflife and Once, and a memoir, The Long Goodbye. A former editor at The New Yorker, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor for the Paris Review. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Poetry, the New Republic, and Poetry, among others. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, and other awards, she lives in Brooklyn.From Publishers Weekly:
The first collection from O'Rourke—critic, Slate culture editor and poetry editor at the Paris Review—displays a playful, energetic intelligence, varied aesthetics and a welcome self-possession, along with the inevitable growing pains. The power of first meetings, quick regrets and a generation for whom things happen fast animates O'Rourke when she is at her most inventive. Beginnings are her strong suit, as are evocations of teen dilemmas (as in "My Life as a Teenager") and stellar lines: "Strange to live in a wet world, then wake in the desert." Also included are two autobiographical sequences whose terse, grim cadence resembles, perhaps too strongly, Louise Glück's, and a few other imagistic lyrics reminiscent of Sylvia Plath: "The buds have already begun, fat pink fingertips." Such moments, though, do not weigh down the book; they are outnumbered by the forward-looking, deft promises at which O'Rourke excels, ending even a poem called "Elegy" on a melancholy high note: "How lucky it is I was born/ to tell you the way it all turned out." This may be one of the most talked about first books of the year. (Apr.)
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