The Weather & Our Tempers

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9781936767113: The Weather & Our Tempers
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Poetry. "Caution and charity, travel and sensitivity, in sites South Asian, American, and European, control the humane tones and the short-lined free verse of [THE WEATHER & OUR TEMPERS], which also reflects its author's other work as a scholar of Buddhism. Concise and welcoming, yet intricately tied to place and religion, this quiet debut could take off."—Publishers Weekly

"Meditative and mysterious, these spare, intimate poems trace an inner landscape that stretches from Brooklyn to Paris, Tokyo to Kathmandu."—Lizzie Widdicombe of The New Yorker

"The poet's spirit settles among objects, the quotidian flotsam. But how to keep the resulting words incantatory? This is Dominique Townsend's gift. Talismans are everywhere in THE WEATHER & OUR TEMPERS, and some of them are 'flapping encyclopedic wings.' While this is a book full of the sense of man's gentle presence in nature, it also rings with apostrophe and sharp conversations. The ache of being human hangs in the doorways of this poetry. You'll be the wiser for entering."—Peter Thompson

"To read Dominique Townsend's debut book of poetry is to be seduced by a particularly spiritual, sensual, and uniquely modern world, where the questions of body, mind, and—indeed—soul, are sometimes painful, sometimes witty, sometimes searching, and always exquisite. These are poems to treasure and revisit."—Joanna Hershon

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About the Author:

Dominique Townsend received her BA from Barnard College, a Master's from Harvard, and a PhD from Columbia. She currently teaches Buddhism at Barnard College. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

From Publishers Weekly:

Caution and charity, travel and sensitivity, in sites South Asian, American, and European, control the humane tones and the short-lined free verse of this debut, which also reflects its author's other work as a scholar of Buddhism.  Compressing nostalgia into useful advice, melancholy into aphorism, always aware that "what we are/ will change," Townsend (who teaches at Barnard College in New York) can look back into her own life, but also far beyond it, into lives unlike hers, despite the spare texture and the low word count in so many poems. One ends "it happened like this/ on the back end of summer/ somebody's birthday" (each day, after all, is somebody's birthday). Another, entitled "ambition was a bad word," imagines a metaphysical "state of being outside// like sleeping in the backyard week/ nights in the crisp decay of fall." Her mix of impressions with concise meditations often recalls the later style of W. S. Merwin, especially when (like him) she eschews punctuation.  Townsend's drifting sadness, interrupted by points of local description, can speak to many places and several generations: "in childhood/ nothing/ is fair... we misunderstood is all/ & the frame was all/ wrong or even gone."  Yet these general conclusions emerge from particulars of cities, and of polyglot learning; those lines, for example, stand out from within the poem "neti neti," named for a South Asian concept of mystic negation (translation: "not this, not this"). Concise and welcoming, yet intricately tied to place and religion, this quiet debut could take off. (Sept.)

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Dominique Townsend
Published by Brooklyn Arts Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 1936767112 ISBN 13: 9781936767113
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