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Romanticismby April Bernard
Synopses & Reviews
Romanticism explores and challenges the central ideas of high Romanticism: the tragedy and gallantry of the individual's life journey, the appeal of revolution and violence, the beckoning forces of Nature, and the estrangement from but constant longing for God. Here is a powerful argument for the primacy of strong emotion.
So I offered a bargain:
All of it, the books, the papers,
and whatever is still brewing in my teapot head--
All of this, I said, I will surrender
if only I may have
the home that I have seen in his face.
The answer came at once: No.
What lies you tell, and call them love.
"Consistent throughout in its embittered tone and its focus on disillusion and failed love, Bernard's articulate fourth collection could please connoisseurs with its panoply of modes and forms: epigrams in an almost classical style, scenes from a nonexistent, racy Victorian novel ('Under the Rose/ by Langley Boisvert'), arias from nonexistent operas, translations from nonexistent German poems and a brace of unrhymed sonnets. Bernard has always blended sadness with literary sophistication, and after the disappointingly earnest autobiography of Swan Electric(2003) she returns to some of her strengths here. The troubles Bernard describes are finally less political than existential, familial, personal. Single poems remember the lives and the deaths of poets she knew (Jason Shinder, Aga Shahid Ali), but the whole collection turns her attention more often to the collapse, the near-death, within parts of herself. 'Love breaks me like a corn cake/ in a boy's mouth,' says one poem. A prose poem uncovers an even more striking image for Bernard's combination of raw pain and canny reserve: 'When I was under snow,' she writes, 'it took a lot to persuade me to dig out, and now and then I think of that ice burrow with real longing.' (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A new collection from "a poet of obvious gifts and power and ambition, unsparing and brilliant" (W. S. Merwin).
About the Author
April Bernard is the author of three poetry collections and a novel. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the Boston Review, the New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.
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