Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006

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9780393062502: Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006
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“Genius. Voigt is a poet of knowledge, and knowledge in the living, messy world.”―Robert Pinsky, Washington Post Book World

To witness the maturation of a poet over time is one of the great pleasures of reading. Here Ellen Bryant Voigt gives us that narrative distilled and amplified, arranging selections from six previous volumes to culminate in transcendent recent poems.

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About the Author:

Ellen Bryant Voigt is the author of volumes of poetry, including Shadow of Heaven, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Messenger, a finalist for the National Book Award and for the Pulitzer Prize. Voigt was awarded the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Prize from the Folger Shakespeare Library, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Merrill Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, where she was subsequently elected a chancellor. Her poems have appeared in an array of national journals and anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry. She lives in Vermont and teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Consistently respected by her contemporaries, Voigt's quiet but often violently powerful poems of autobiography, pastoral and history have not always gained the broad attention they deserve. This seventh book (her first retrospective) may ensure that she gets it. Voigt's descriptive powers pop out first: a snake, for instance, is a "wrinkle coming toward me in the grass." Her anecdotes, scenic lyrics, parables and loosely structured sequences ask, however, to be judged for the ways in which they depict people—the poet, her husband, her sisters, their ailing and dying parents, or, in Kyrie (1995), the victims of the devastating flu epidemic of 1918. Voigt seems to know a lot about birds and bird-watching, and even more about the classical piano repertoire; these specialties further enliven the sensitive poems of domestic and wild spaces she has composed throughout her career, from a catalogue of birds early on to a recent "redbird fixed on the branch like a ripe fruit." Voigt's latest and most original poetry delves furthest into the human interior, finding—like a friendlier, warmer version of Voigt's longtime friend Louise Glück—the hidden motives behind all human endeavor: "the past," she writes, "is not a scar but a wound;/ I've seen it breaking open." (Jan.)
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