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Rough Honey (Apr Honickman 1st Book Award)
Synopses & Reviews
Selected by Mark Doty from over one thousand manuscripts for the APR/Honickman First Book Prize, Melissa Stein's debut Rough Honey is a startling, sensuous collection that examines the deep sources of art. These poems speak of fragility and power, the contradictions of pleasure, and the bruises we bear. With remarkable range, they carry us from a whitewater rafting calamity to the "torrents of wheat" on a family farm; from a peepshow's "manageable storm of boredom and sex" to a passionate fall from grace in an orchard. By turns buoyant and forlorn, Rough Honey's characters both long for and abandon the hope of true connection, of home.
From "Want Me":
Lemons crystallized in sugar, glistening
on a blue-glazed plate. The rarest volume
bound in blood leather. A silk carpet
woven so finely you can't push a needle through,
that from one edge is the silver of a leaf
underwater, and from the other bleu lumiere,
first frost on the cornflowers. A duet for cello
and woodsmoke, violin and icicle. Tangle of
black hair steeped in sandalwood, jasmine,
bergamot and vetiver and jewelled
with pomegranate seeds . . .
As Mark Doty writes in his introduction, Openness—of form, and of the receptive and longing body—is Rough Honeys central subject, and its oxymoronic title suggests the sweet and fierce character of desire, that compelling and dangerous sustenance...Steins poems are lit by a restless and flashing verbal intelligence...Her sentences are beautifully choreographed; they start and stop the motion of her poems with a nearly invisible, effortless authority.”
Melissa Stein's poems have appeared in leading literary journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2009, New England Review, and The American Poetry Review. She lives in San Francisco.
Rough Honey is the 2010 winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize, selected and introduced by Mark Doty.
About the Author
Melissa Stein: Melissa Stein won the APR/Honickman Prize with her debut volume Rough Honey. Her poems have appeared in leading literary journals and anthologies such as Best New Poets 2009, New England Review, and The American Poetry Review. She has received residency fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, Djerassi, Montalvo, and Ragdale, among others. She lives in San Francisco.
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