Dream with Flowers and Bowl of Fruit

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9780930982669: Dream with Flowers and Bowl of Fruit
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Dream with Flowers and Bowl of Fruit by Deborah Warren, recipient of the 2008 Richard Wilbur Award, is a collection of poems that are, as Rhina Espaillat notes, "out to capture the seen, the unseen peripherals, and the incalculable possibilities behind them." In each of these delicate yet unsentimental poems, Warren shows her mastery of a variety of forms and approaches, yet she always makes certain that her reader hears a discernibly human voice and the music of everyday speech at the center of each piece. "In poem after poem," Espaillat writes, "Warren's subjects are caught in a light that stops time -- or makes it race -- or breaks through the normal edges of the possible"; just as her poem "The Glassblower" does: "He should have stopped before the music, cooling, / hardened; he should have held the bright balloon / tremolo on the thin pipe where it hung / unfinished -- when there was nothing yet to shatter, / only possibility and prism...." In this and other remarkable poems like "The Rider," Warren explores the shifting boundaries between hope and an often painful reality, between action and intellect, and between that "edgeless wood dividing / thought and dream."

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About the Author:

Deborah Warren, a graduate of Harvard University, is the author of two previous poetry collections: The Size of Happiness (2003) and Zero Meridian (2004), which received the 2003 New Criterion Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, and The Yale Review. She is also a past recipient of the Robert Penn Warren Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Robert Frost Poetry Award.

Review:

Not since Richard Wilbur has a poet combined formal grace, visual imagination, and worldly wisdom as appealingly as Deborah Warren. Whether she is writing about the largest subjects -- history, love, the soul -- or the smallest -- housecats, Latin lessons, Cleopatra's nose -- Warren, like the craftsman she writes about in "The Glassblower," shows that she is a master of the "possibility and prism" of her art.

-- Adam Kirsch --Adam Kirsch

Deborah Warren s poised and meticulous poems deliver pure potential in small packages: an egg, a kitten, a bluebird. Each burnished object or creature contains a principle of growth; hence, even Warren's tiniest lyrics move us from one state of being to another. Each of her individual lines and stanzas is so calibrated as to move us in another way as well. (Consider, for example, the unsettling gap between stanzas in "Fire") But that's not all. As if the tensile authority of her lines weren t enough, Warren is also a mistress of finely observed images from nature, art, and history. Finally, the voice that coveys these varied poetic riches -- a voice by turns deadpan, fretful, rueful, playful -- is unfailingly understated. Each poem thereby retains its integrity, freshness, and mystery. Dream with Flowers and Bowl of Fruit is a beautiful book.

--Rachel Hadas --Rachel Hadas

What a strange, profound, and beautiful book this is, with its insistence on pursuing precisely that whose nature it is to elude pursuit! The widening range of Warren's restless attention encompasses aesthetics, the arts, nature, the difficulties of perception, and the complicated psychic dynamics of aging; and she tackles all of it in language that bristles with intellect and passion, discipline and a yearning to break free. How irresistible I find her invitation to join in her pursuit, in poem after poem in this dazzling collection, for the sake of the journey through experience, to that which underlies it and suggests the sources that the actual can never exhaust.

--Rhina P. Espaillat --Rhina P. Espaillat

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