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Slow Lightning (Yale Series of Younger Poets)by Eduardo C. Corral
Synopses & Reviews
Whether exploring the porous borders between sin and virtue or examining the lives of saints and mystics to find the human experiences in stories of the divine, the poems in No Confession, No Mass move toward restoration and reunion.
Jennifer Perrine’s poems ask what healing might be possible in the face of sexual and gendered violence worldwide—in New Delhi, in Steubenville, in Juárez, and in neighborhoods and homes never named in the news. The book reflects on our own complicity in violence, “not confessing, but unearthing” former selves who were brutal and brutalized—and treating them with compassion. As the poems work through these seeming paradoxes, they also find joy, celebrating transformations and second chances, whether after the failure of a marriage, the return of a reluctant soldier from war, or the everyday passage of time.
Through the play of language in received forms—abecedarian, sonnet, ballad, ghazal, villanelle, ballade—and in free verse buzzing with assonance, alliteration, and rhyme, these poems sing their resistance to violence in all its forms.
"This debut does many things: there are melancholy poems about love between men in the age of HIV, sonnets in strict and forceful rhyme, poems addressed to paintings and art installations, poems that mix English and Spanish, elegies and protests, and difficult family memories. Corral rarely repeats a form: beyond sonnets, there are clipped, blocklike texts, page-long chants, lines squeezed down to nothing ('The soul,/ like semen,/ escapes/ the body/ swiftly') and hard-edged, digressive free verse: 'The sand calls out for more footprints./ A crack in a boulder/ can never be an entrance/ to a cathedral/ but a mouse can be torn open/ like an orange.' There is outrage against the border-related policies that keep on killing Mexicans and other immigrants, and there is tenderness expressed toward erotic partners and toward artistic allies, from Frida Kahlo to the avant-garde disco cellist Arthur Russell. Finally the binational struggles of migrants can seem to stand for other struggles in life, erotic, familial and literary: 'my love took me through the desert. My breath/ crumbling like bread.' Corral's first book is also the first pick for the venerable Yale Series of Younger Poets from new judge Carl Phillips." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Announcing the newest winner of the oldest annual literary prize in the United States
For decades a restorer of old homes, Connie Wanek shows us that poetry is everywhere, encountered as easily in the waterways, landscapes, and winters of Minnesota, as in the old roofs and darkened drawers of a home long uninhabited. Rival Gardens includes more than thirty unpublished poems, along with poems selected from three previous books—all in Wanek’s unmistakable voice: plainspoken and elegant, unassuming and wise, observant and original. Many of her new poems focus on the garden, beginning with the Garden of Eden.
A deep feeling for family and for the losses and gains of growing into maturity mark the tone of Rival Gardens, with Wanek always attending to the telling detail and the natural world.
Eduardo C. Corral is the 2011 recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, joining such distinguished previous winners as Adrienne Rich, W. S. Merwin, and John Ashbery. Corral is the first Latino poet to win the competition.
Seamlessly braiding English and Spanish, Corral's poems hurtle across literary and linguistic borders toward a lyricism that slows down experience. He employs a range of forms and phrasing, bringing the vivid particulars of his experiences as a Chicano and gay man to the page. Although Corral's topics are decidedly sobering, contest judge Carl Phillips observes, "one of the more surprising possibilities offered in these poems is joy."
From "Self-Portrait with Tumbling and Lasso"
I'm a cowboy
My soul is
above my head like a lasso.
My right hand
a pistol. My left
automatic. I'm knocking
on every door.
I'm coming on strong . . .
About the Author
Eduardo C. Corral's poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, New England Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry, as well as other journals and anthologies. He received a Discovery/The Nation award and was selected for residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He lives in southern Arizona.
Carl Phillips is the award-winning author of eleven books of poetry, including Speak Low, which was a National Book Award finalist. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. This is his first year as judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.
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