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Synopses & Reviews
Eight years after her revelatory first book, Emily Wilson deepens her focus and extends her vision in new poems of striking intelligence and originality. Venturing into landscapes both interior and exterior, Micrographia explores what Wilson calls “the complex rigged wildness” of geographical, emotional, and verbal states, a territory located “somewhere in that / enjambment within / a cave within the brain.” Following in the tradition of such poets as Dickinson, Bishop, and Ammons, Wilson’s work regards the mind as “enmeshed” with the natural world, always “at the hinge of going over.” Her way of speaking is as precisely calibrated and as restless as her way of seeing, and the terrain of Micrographia rises from a rich and unpredictable encounter with poetic language and form. At the same time, the voice of these poems is never less than urgent, “coming clear by the foment / moving through it.”
Wilson’s eye travels the troubled boundaries between visible and invisible worlds, ranging from coastal Nova Scotia to the Andean highlands to Brooklyn’s industrial Gowanus Canal to the poet’s own backyard. Steeped in tradition but spoken in tones that are utterly distinctive, these intricate poems enter into the microscopic, micrographic spaces between words and things, between thinking and being.
"Borrowing her title and her eye for minutiae from Robert Hooke's popular 1665 scientific study of the natural world through a microscope, Emily Wilson argues, in these taut lyrics, that 350 years later we are still often mystified by the natural world. Favoring long, blocky stanzas that are dense with assonance and consonance, Wilson proves that language, like Hooke's lens, unravels the ordinary, revealing a 'raw garden' where there are 'back-tracking collages/ of brambles' and a bridge where '[r]amparts ruck over the underside slips.' As in her remarkable debut, The Keep (2001), in this second book, Wilson evokes landscapes that are dense and lush and legible, composed of 'beautiful forestations of made language.' She also eschews the narrowness of the personal pronoun 'I' to privilege instead an unbound lyric eye: 'So the eye has no end/ going on outside its compulsion.' Her poems emerge as structures of a delicate and determined vision that sees 'the things that were forms/ unparceling themselves from their forms.' This encounter, both lavish and intense, means that each poem is a '[w]ild sweet locus' for the world to be seen anew." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Emily Wilson’s eye travels the troubled boundaries between visible and invisible worlds, ranging from coastal Nova Scotia to the Andean highlands to Brooklyn’s industrial Gowanus Canal to the poet’s own backyard. Steeped in tradition but spoken in tones that are utterly distinctive, these intricate poems enter into the microscopic, micrographic spaces between words and things, between thinking and being.
About the Author
Emily Wilson is the author of The Keep (Iowa, 2001). She holds degrees from Harvard and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn.
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