The Mother on the Other Side of the World: Poems

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In his fifth book of poems, The Mother on the Other Side of the World, James Baker Hall revisits his dark childhood with a spiritual maturity earned of lifelong struggle with the forces of silence, secrecy, deception, and hiding. Without the usual linear guideposts and cathartic emotional epiphanies we've come to expect from contemporary poetry, he reveals the dangerous and strange aspects of family intimacies that are both universal and taboo. With talismanic images from the natural world, he refigures the mother's body as a timeless landscape, through which these visceral and worldly poems move. And move they surely do, with a distinctive panache, with great kinesthetic intensity and subtlety. A pilgrimage is implicit in the stops they make and in the sacraments they achieve. An experienced conjurer dealing with his deepest urgencies, Hall realizes a poetic technique in these poems that refracts embodied experience to reveal the energies-secular, spiritual, animal, and human-that come and go in forms. What these poems know-without explanation-is a grace beyond both intuition and belief.

The Mother on the Other Side of the World is James Baker Hall's fifth book of poems. The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Kenyon Review are among the many magazines to have published his work. He has received an NEA fellowship in poetry writing and has won both Pushcart and O. Henry prizes. He lives with his wife, fiction writer Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, in the Kentucky countryside and teaches at the University of Kentucky.

"James Baker Hall has consistently pursued in his poetry a trajectory that is deeply authentic. It has produced writing of daring and delicacy, over a period long enough to make it plain that this is not a momentary brilliance but a sustained vision. He has been dedicated to making the language reflect the surprise, the turns and leaps of memory and recurrent apparition in which pain and beauty are often indistinguishable. This new collection displays an intimate authority and mystery of tone that are the fulfillment of a genuine gift and uncompromising devotion to it."-W.S. Merwin

"A delightful collection of poems depicting Hall's life long st

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From the Author:

In 1988, when I was fifty-three years old, after having avoided doing it way too many times, I embarked on a concerted effort to recover my vanished childhood and catch sight of my sources. My father's adultery, and my mother's suicide when I was seven, had caused me to forget myself, the way you would jettison baggage to keep a lifeboat afloat. "You had a mother, Jim," my wife and dear friend Mary Ann Taylor-Hall kept saying, "whether you remember her or not." I didn't have enough information about that period of my life to write prose, so I started with the few things I did remember, like watching her die, dropping them into language like bait, fishing for the deep feeders.

I wrote question-asking poetry, trying to gain access to my nighttime mind, achieving it sometimes. Through the agency of language I could remember without the aid of much memory, again and again, and know what to trust and what not, if I was patient and kept its faith. I didn't lose my nerve, or flinch more than was neurologically necessary.

I began with no trace of Mother's voice, and it never came to me. I had to go to it, my language had to search it out, I had to find it within myself, my mother's voice in her absence, and if I wanted to keep it I had to find it again and again in everything. Often there was the feeling that this was the work I'd become an artist to do.

My beautiful, popular, young mother died in my bed-prisoner to a way of life in one view, in another to life itself. Stunned, watching from across the room as her fate became mine, I was taken out to the farthest vanishing point, where the world as we have always known it never did exist, where life and death aren't different faces but the same one body, and joy and terror, nurture and devastation, aren't separate, as they seem to be. And all along the way out to those grand erasures and revelations, there was great mystery within mystery.

About the Author:

The Mother on the Other Side of the World is James Baker Hall's fifth book of poems. The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Kenyon Review are among the many magazines to have published his work. He has received an NEA fellowship in poetry writing and has won both Pushcart and O. Henry prizes. He lives with his wife, fiction writer Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, in the Kentucky countryside and teaches at the University of Kentucky.

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Book Description Sarabande Books, United States, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In his fifth book of poems, The Mother on the Other Side of the World, James Baker Hall revisits his dark childhood with a spiritual maturity earned of lifelong struggle with the forces of silence, secrecy, deception, and hiding. Without the usual linear guideposts and cathartic emotional epiphanies we ve come to expect from contemporary poetry, he reveals the dangerous and strange aspects of family intimacies that are both universal and taboo. With talismanic images from the natural world, he refigures the mother s body as a timeless landscape, through which these visceral and worldly poems move. And move they surely do, with a distinctive panache, with great kinesthetic intensity and subtlety. A pilgrimage is implicit in the stops they make and in the sacraments they achieve. An experienced conjurer dealing with his deepest urgencies, Hall realizes a poetic technique in these poems that refracts embodied experience to reveal the energies-secular, spiritual, animal, and human-that come and go in forms. What these poems know-without explanation-is a grace beyond both intuition and belief. The Mother on the Other Side of the World is James Baker Hall s fifth book of poems. The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Kenyon Review are among the many magazines to have published his work. He has received an NEA fellowship in poetry writing and has won both Pushcart and O. Henry prizes. He lives with his wife, fiction writer Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, in the Kentucky countryside and teaches at the University of Kentucky. James Baker Hall has consistently pursued in his poetry a trajectory that is deeply authentic. It has produced writing of daring and delicacy, over a period long enough to make it plain that this is not a momentary brilliance but a sustained vision. He has been dedicated to making the language reflect the surprise, the turns and leaps of memory and recurrent apparition in which pain and beauty are often indistinguishable. This new collection displays an intimate authority and mystery of tone that are the fulfillment of a genuine gift and uncompromising devotion to it. -W.S. Merwin A delightful collection of poems depicting Hall s life long st. Seller Inventory # AAC9781889330310

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