Lessons in Space (Contemporary Poetry Series)

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9780813015026: Lessons in Space (Contemporary Poetry Series)
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"For all the toughness, asperity, gall in her exacting inspection of those circumstances we find so hard to make out--adolescence, marriage, love, la condition féminine--there is an abiding sweetness in Cathleen Calbert’s poems, honey at the heart or at some other center. Her poems are like pomes, indeed, delectable within the rind, but guarded, sly."--Richard Howard

"Once again, a bad year for the skies.
Ice on the wings. Terrorist activities.

The shuttle shooting stars, a white blossoming,
newscasters suddenly speaking of the face of God

in the face of such large and instant beauty,
saying, surely that medley of men and women

has vaporized into angels. But on the beach,
a burned helmet, bone sliver from a slender foot.

Back in Houston, people explain things.
Just miscalculation, not God calling them up

with powerful love. But an error.
Technical. Human. Sufficient."

—from the poem "Lessons in Space"

Cathleen Calbert’s poems are like sudden blooms in provisional, temporary spaces—a suburban childhood, an unhappy family, the thwarted freedom of adolescence, dead-end jobs, cafés, buses, trains, and rented rooms in foreign countries with restless boyfriends—all places where another life (her real life) is dimly felt to be just around the corner. These, however, are only the poems’ settings. For her subject, Calbert takes the vivid, saving, small details—the taste of things, the feel of things, their color.

Through the details Calbert lifts, floating above the places she would rather not be, beyond the grasp of people she would rather not be with. A crack in a blue cup, the egg’s "white holding white, holding a yellow ball," a "dream of blackberry,"  "the sweet dirt of the peach and apricot trees"—these are Calbert’s "Lessons in Space,"  transformed, through the details, from lessons in waiting to lessons of hope.

Cathleen Calbert’s poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, 1995, Paris Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, New Republic, Ohio Review, Hudson Review, The Nation, and in 1994 she received the Gordon Barber Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Review:

All That Is Known To Be Beautiful
Babysitting
Blackberry
The Blessed Virgin
A Blue Cup, With A Crack
Cajun Wings And Loaded Skins
Dad
Fainting
Garden Grove
Girlfriends
Junior High
The Land Of Milk And Honey
Lessons In Space
Living With Monkeys
Looking Into A Still Pool
Mysterious Weather
Panda Problems
Playhouse
School-yard
Silent Men
Sluts
A Small Cross
Sweets To The Sweet
A Train Is Going To Germany
When The Train
Young Man At The Family Planning Clinic
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780813015033: Lessons in Space (University of Central Florida Contemporary Poetry Series)

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ISBN 10:  0813015030 ISBN 13:  9780813015033
Publisher: Univ Pr of Florida, 1997
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