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Worldling: Poems

Spires, Elizabeth

14 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0393316289 / ISBN 13: 9780393316285
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated, New York, New York, U.S.A., 1997
Used Condition: Near Fine Soft cover
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About this Item

28 poems, including "Letter in July," "The Night and the Doll," "Mansion Beach," "Seven Gough Square," "The Haiku Master," "Roman Lachrymatory Bottles," and "Life Everlasting." By the author of "Swan's Island" and "Globe," among others. This book published in 1995, stated first edition, first printing. The poetess had published in "The New Yorker," "The New Criterion," and "Poetry." One critic referred to her "diamond cutter's finesse" with words and phrases. The author taught at Goucher College at the time of publication. A few rubs on the cover, a touch of shelf wear on the edges, but unmarked and clean. Scarce, excellent late 20th century American poetry. First edition. Bookseller Inventory # 002511

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Worldling: Poems

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

About this title


“With not one wrong move, not one word off-key or trivial, this collection of poems makes us experience intimate, yet not necessarily personal, contact with the poet who lets us at times see the struggle behind the refined sensibility. . . .Spires asks the big questions with such competence and polish that we admire her sweating, our metaphysical gladiator, guarantor of our considerable pleasure.” ―Nancy Nahra, Philadelphia Inquirer

Winner of a 1996 Whiting Award. In her fourth collection of poems Elizabeth Spires addresses the elemental subjects of life and of literature: birth, death, creation, and intimations of immortality. The first section focuses on the experiences of conception, pregnancy, and childbirth from the points of view of both mother and child. The second section offers a reversal and reply in which the poems move out into a divided and divisive world. These poems are distinguished by an immaculate lyricism, a pristine sense for the natural world and the rhythms of language.


The Boston Globe writes that Elizabeth Spires's poetry is characterized by "simplicity, conviction and grace." These virtues are present in most of these poems, but are especially powerful in "Theatre of Pain," Spires's account of giving birth to her daughter. She writes: "In the theatre of pain where all things are born / and brought into the light, / I found myself one night, the world contracting / to a dream of world ..." A paradox: Spires captures, with a realistic quality, the dreamy and unreal feeling that can pervade life's most intense moments. (It's not for nothing that she's been compared to Elizabeth Bishop!) From the microcosm of birth to the larger world, Elizabeth Spires's writing is hypnotic and passionate.

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