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The Voluptuaryby Paulann Petersen
Synopses & Reviews
These are the poems of an enraptured heart and mind, of clear eyes and ears doing the soul's seeing and hearing. They vividly prove the unchanged function and relevance of poetry: to crystallize unsayable, non-verbal inner states, and to sanctify every world it touches. The Voluptuary brings us necessary visionary news of a profound sanity rooted in ecstatic love for creation. --Li-Young Lee
About the Author(s)Oregon's sixth Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University whose poems have appeared in many publications including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, and Wilderness Magazine. She has four chapbooks (Under the Sign of a Neon Wolf, The Animal Bride, Fabrication and The Hermaphrodite Flower). Her first full-length collection of poems, The Wild Awake (2002), was published by Confluence Press. A second, Blood- Silk (2004), poems about Turkey, was published by Quiet Lion Press of Portland. Another, A Bride of Narrow Escape (2006), was published by Cloudbank Books as part of its Northwest Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. A fourth collection, Kindle (2008), was published by Mountains and Rivers Press. Her work has been selected for Poetry Daily on the Internet, and for Poetry in Motion, which puts poems on busses and light rail cars in the Portland metropolitan area. In addition to having taught high school English, she's been on the faculty for Fishtrap, and has given workshops for Oregon Writers Workshop, Oregon State Poetry Association, Mountain Writers Series, OCTE and NCTE Conferences, and the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis and Clark College. The recipient of the 2006 Literary Arts Stewart Holbrook Award for Outstanding Contributions to Oregon's Literary Life, she serves on the board for Friends of William Stafford, organizing the annual January William Stafford Birthday Events.
The heroine of The Voluptuary is not a king's sybaritic mistress, installed in the summer palace at Versailles. Her assignations are with the stars, with color and the air. (Silver and Deep) The richness she is sifting with her mind has everything to do with the amplitude of the earth and the generosity of her interior self. (Among the Yet Unfallen, Gravity and Wax) The companions who mostly comprise the human presence in the book are Whitmans all: Paulann Petersen nee Whitman; the poet's deceased parents, Grace and Paul Whitman, wearing their shrouds; and Walter Whitman Jr., himself, represented in his mythological sense as the Zeus of American poetry. The three specters are lovingly portrayed against a backdrop teeming with life, tracking events like illuminated planets in the intimate relationships of men, women, the moon, and the stars.
About the Author
Paulann Petersen is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University whose poems have appeared in many publications including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, and Wilderness Magazine. She has four chapbooks — Under the Sign of a Neon Wolf, The Animal Bride, Fabrication, and The Hermaphrodite Flower. Her first full-length collection of poems, The Wild Awake, was published by Confluence Press in 2002. A second, Blood-Silk, poems about Turkey, was published by Quiet Lion Press of Portland in 2004. A Bride of Narrow Escape was published by Cloudbank Books as part of its Northwest Poetry Series in 2006. Kindle was published by Mountains and Rivers Press in 2008. Her latest book, The Voluptuary, was recently published by Lost Horse Press. Paulann Petersen is Oregon's sixth and current Poet Laureate.
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