The Shifting Line: Poems

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9780930982607: The Shifting Line: Poems
From the Publisher:

The Shifting Line by Chelsea Rathburn, the 2005 Richard Wilbur Award recipient, is a remarkably wise and skillful debut. As Catherine Tufariello writes, "The poems in The Shifting Line compel us by their fascination with the precariously shifting boundary between love and aversion, belief and doubt, domesticity and danger." In sonnets, ballads, blank verse, and nonce forms, Rathburn expresses our hopes, desires, and fears, building, as Miller Williams notes, "extraordinary poems out of ordinary language." Such skill is readily apparent in poems such as "Singing the Children to Sleep," where the phantoms and recesses in a child’s bedroom are less fearful than "the terrors we’re afraid to name." April Lindner notes the metaphorical resonance of the book’s title in Rathburn’s ability to chart the depths below quotidian surfaces, to navigate ambiguous borders: "Many of the poems in The Shifting Line explore love's gray areas — how easily a touch becomes abrasive, and how the atmosphere of even a peaceful home can be charged by 'currents we can feel but can't repair.'" The Shifting Line is a compelling collection from a young poet with a nuanced eye and ear and a facility with form rare among her contemporaries.

From the Back Cover:

Chelsea Rathburn’s well-crafted poems honor the beauty and order of the world by accommodating its quirks and oddities. Time and again, her straightforward colloquial grace leads to unexpected yet convincing revelations about her subjects. By acknowledging the fragility of the lives and relationships she explores, she gives them sustaining significance. With its wealth of happy paradoxes, this collection marks the debut of an impressively talented poet.

-- Tim Steele

The line in Chelsea Rathburn's exceptionally fine and promising The Shifting Line is not only the line of love, traced unflinchingly through its lucid confusions and murky clarities, but also the deeply human pulse of feeling and forms -- both metrical and amatory -- composed from the dissonance of a fully lived life. A remarkable debut.

-- B.H. Fairchild

Many of the poems in The Shifting Line explore love's gray areas -- how easily a touch becomes abrasive, and how the atmosphere of even a peaceful home can be charged by "currents we can feel but can't repair." Simultaneously clever and emotionally resonant, these poems are the work of an adept formalist with an unflinching eye and a discerning ear.

-- April Lindner

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Chelsea Rathburn
Published by University of Evansville Press (2005)
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