Poetry Ann Silsbee ORIOLING

ISBN 13: 9781888996616

ORIOLING

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9781888996616: ORIOLING

“Some months after the judging panel chose Ann Silsbee’s Orioling as the winner of the Ben Saltman Award from Red Hen Press, I reread the manuscript only to find myself totally bowled over by the poems. Silsbee brings so much to the table in her poetry, it’s hard to know where to begin to praise such work. I had loved this collection from my first reading of it, but subsequent readings have put me in awe of the wonderful spirit behind the poems and the exquisite language of which they are made. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d say “The Ten Thousand Things,” but that’s just because it’s a perfect movie of the creative process. There’s no doubt in my mind but that this book is going to open some eyes and put a star on the map wherever Ann Silsbee spends her time.”


―Eloise Klein Healy

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About the Author:

Ann Silsbee grew up in Urbana, Illinois, and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with one foot in the ocean at Martha's Vineyard when it was still an unknown island off the coast of Cape Cod. A pianist and composer, her musical works in all genres have been performed and recorded in the United States and abroad. Her poems have been published in the Atlanta Review, Seneca Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and many other poetry journals. Her chapbook, Naming the Disappeared, was published by Vista Periodista. Married to the physicist Robert Silsbee, and mother of three grown sons with families of their own, she lived in Ithaca, New York. The woods, hills, and gorges of her home were an inexhaustible source of imagery for her poems. Ann Silsbee passed away on August 28, 2003.

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Poets are people who, among other things, don’t forget how delicious it is to be alive on this earth. A basic note in a poet’s repertoire is praise–and what a good note it is! We go to poetry for a vibrant reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a world of rain and sun and stars and rivers.

Ann Silsbee is a poet who very much appreciates her good fortune. She celebrates it in poem after poem but she always modulates her celebration to take note of the human occasions that take place within the extraordinary environment the natural world–on any given day–presents. As a poet who is literally attuned to the world of music, she is adroit at noting how human events–leave taking, returning, cooking, going for a walk, sitting by someone’s bedside–harmonize or fail to harmonize with the natural world. Her poems record moments that resonate firmly and deeply as they evoke depths of feeling.

Her gifts as a poet are considerable and she is especially wizard with sound. Vowels are the famous music of poetry and Silsbee is very deft at them. The poems cast a spell as they, at once relentlessly and delicately, weave sounds together. She makes one aware of how assonance opens up endless echoes as one syllable plays off another and creates a little aural eternity. Her attention to consonants is just as fine. In the beautiful poem about snowfall entitled "Winter Weather Advisory," she writes a line: "Its almost invisible flakes slide like silk," that perfectly plays the sibilance of the "ess" sound against the firmness of the "el." As poets like to say, she has an ear.

It’s bracing to note that someone as susceptible as Silsbee is to the blandishments of art never forgets the burdens of the human heart. She is alert as to how we try to make the best of things and how our insistences can lead us astray. Nonetheless, she remains deeply appreciative of living on the earth and the people with whom she has shared her life. This appreciation speaks of a generous spirit and that is what one encounters in all of Silsbee’s poems. It is a spirit that is unrepentantly physical. She celebrates bodies, birds–in her marvelous title poem–weather, cats, and flowers–among many creatures, flora, and phenomena. She catches, time and again, the frank sanity that resides in physicality.

This is a book that testifies to many years of careful feeling and careful writing. Poems this accomplished rarely spring at once from a poet’s head. Nothing, however, feels labored. There are poems in this volume that one immediately wants to memorize and that seem in their fullness to have existed forever. She is one who, in her own words, knows "the passage to silence." Her poems testify to her awareness.

From the Foreword by Baron Wormser

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Book Description Red Hen Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. "Some months after the judging panel chose Ann Silsbee’s Orioling as the winner of the Ben Saltman Award from Red Hen Press, I reread the manuscript only to find myself totally bowled over by the poems. Silsbee brings so much to the table in her poetry, it’s hard to know where to begin to praise such work. I had loved this collection from my first reading of it, but subsequent readings have put me in awe of the wonderful spirit behind the poems and the exquisite language of which they are made. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d say "The Ten Thousand Things," but that’s just because it’s a perfect movie of the creative process. There’s no doubt in my mind but that this book is going to open some eyes and put a star on the map wherever Ann Silsbee spends her time." —Eloise Klein Healy. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781888996616

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