Poetry Collier, Michael The Ledge: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780618219100

The Ledge: Poems

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9780618219100: The Ledge: Poems

Michael Collier's much acclaimed fourth collection of poetry poises experience on the ledge between the everyday and the unknown. In THE LEDGE, the poems are narrative and colloquial, musical and crystalline, at once intimate and sharp-edged. The world is rendered beautifully mysterious as the poems slide into unexpected emotional territory. The artistry and directness of THE LEDGE confirm Collier's place among the most significant poets of his generation.

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Review:

The first poem in Michael Collier's fourth collection, The Ledge, suggests a difference between youthful readers and mature ones. The young read more quickly, as though they'll be asked to recount the plot highlights. Older readers relish the details, using literature to slide their own lives under the magnifying glass. "Argos" is an excellent prelude, which prepares us for The Ledge's roundabout insights and surprising truths.

Collier's poetry often addresses large-scale questions of faith--or at least questions that used to be large-scale and have now been deflated by ironic disbelief. Probably every century since the advent of Christianity has witnessed innumerable mock crucifixions, with girls pretending to hammer a boy onto a cross while he lolls his head "in that familiar / defeated way." In the past, the game might have provoked terror, or empathy, or at least awe at the sheer sinfulness of humans. In our era, however, the boy's penis stiffens comically, "like one of Satan's fingers":

I was dying a savior's death and yet
what my sisters called my "thing,"
struggled against extinction
as if its resurrection could not be held off
by this playful holy torture.
Using such sneaky, colloquial humor, Collier expertly discriminates between the rarefied thoughts we're supposed to have and the ones we actually have.

Elsewhere, Collier writes about the emotional burdens that fathers and sons are doomed to place on each other. In "The Hammer," an adult recalls losing his father's treasured hammer, and covering his tracks with a lie that has never fully vanished. "The Choice" finds a child struggling with a similar agony: is it better to dissemble or disappoint? Collier's voice in The Ledge is consistently that of one thoughtful, reasonable father talking to another--and maybe, some years from now, to the son who has finally become a father himself. --John Ponyicsanyi

About the Author:

Michael Collier has been the director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference for five years and has taught English at the University of Maryland, College Park, for fifteen years. His previous volumes of poetry are THE CLASP AND OTHER POEMS, THE FOLDED HEART, THE NEIGHBOR, and most recently THE LEDGE, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Collier is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, NEA fellowships, and the Discovery/The Nation Award, among other honors. He resides in Maryland.

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Book Description HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 211 x 142 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Michael Collier s much acclaimed fourth collection of poetry poises experience on the ledge between the everyday and the unknown. In THE LEDGE, the poems are narrative and colloquial, musical and crystalline, at once intimate and sharp-edged. The world is rendered beautifully mysterious as the poems slide into unexpected emotional territory. The artistry and directness of THE LEDGE confirm Collier s place among the most significant poets of his generation. Bookseller Inventory # APC9780618219100

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