Tory Dent What Silence Equals: Poems

ISBN 13: 9780892551965

What Silence Equals: Poems

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9780892551965: What Silence Equals: Poems

The "brilliant and challenging" (Library Journal) exploration of living with HIV by the winner of the 1999 James Laughlin Award.

First published in 1993, this virtuosic collection defined writing about AIDS for a generation of poets. Chaotic and incantatory, it is a submersion into the railing consciousness of a young woman on the precipice of mortality, its "dazzling and valiant poems...the psalms of our present moment" (Sharon Olds).

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About the Author:

Tory Dent (d. 2005) is the author of three volumes of poetry. Her writing appeared in numerous periodicals, including Agni, Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and Fence; and many anthologies, among them In the Company of My Solitude (Persea, 1995), and Things Shaped in Passing (Persea, 1997).

From Publishers Weekly:

The subject of Dent's admittedly autobiographical first collection is intriguing: these are the poems of a woman suffering from AIDS. While several books have appeared from the male perspective and women have contributed poems to anthologies, this ought to be a landmark volume. Such weight only makes the book's shortcomings more disastrous. Emotion is barely detectable. Dent's long lines are chopped-up prose, and even as prose they'd be boring: "So the ignorant stumbled out of bliss as stockbrokers did in '29 / their limbs wriggling the way a spider descends / into a void of volition. . . ." Even poems written to such tunes as Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" or Percy Sledge's "At the Dark End of the Street" bear no traces of lyricism. Imagery is sparse and predictable: eyes "sparkle like zircon diamonds," clouds are "tearful," lips are "zipped together." Large words are thrown in seemingly to no other purpose than to prove the poet's superiority to her readers: "noyade," "mullocky," "metalanguage," "apheliotropically." Inverted grammar lends a stilted quality. An attenuated introduction by Sharon Olds ( The Father ) does little more than quote from the book itself.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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