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Generationsby Pattiann Rogers
Synopses & Reviews
New work from an award-winning poet who writes transporting poems of discovery, contemplation, and gratitude” (Booklist)
Pattiann Rogers has won acclaim as one of the most original voices in contemporary American poetry. The poems in her new collection, Holy Heathen Rhapsody, embrace and embody the forces of the Earth and the creative power of its lifeforms in all the wildness of their varieties. Love in these poems is a force infused with the same creative power and intensity, the purest manifestation of the will-to-be. This vision and its making contend that even a shadow or a floating seed, a frond of green or a midnight spider, even a mongrel dog, wind over water, the human voice, the human witness, peace and weapons, all—every aspect and feature encountered—are fully endowed players in the dynamic music of the Earth.
"With this follow-up to her well-received Song of the World Becoming: New and Selected Poems 1981 — 2001, Rogers makes the jump from the independent Milkweed to major trade Penguin, and continues her investigations of the natural world's free fecundity, its darker side, and the endless patterns that the mind finds within them. Her speaker can exult 'the scarlet blooming forth/ of claret cup cacti,' see 'the formless/ suggestion of what is never seen,' but also, in observing a pastoral scene, note that 'If god was a cow, I could slaughter him.' From crows picking at remains to being asked to recall that 'You were never chosen by priests to have your neck wrung and broken' as part of mummification after a natural demise, Rogers uses a matter-of-factness about death and violence across nature to connect 'generations' of animals that can think and speak to those that can't, in one grand order. Some mannered phrasing ('noble sand amphipods') and long strings of predicates that put off rather than build tension for concluding insights can dilute off the immediacy of observation here, but in these 55 page-or-two meditations, Rogers often locates 'the invisible red life implicit inside/ each fish suspended in still water.' (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Pattiann Rogers, one of America’s finest contemporary poets, has won a reputation for densely detailed, thickly textured poems describing the natural world and one’s place in it that are informed by a broad knowledge of science. In the tradition of Emerson, Whitman, and A. R. Ammons, Rogers’s wise and complex poems read like a series of witty but deeply felt explorations of the physical world and the presence of the divine, exuding much observational care and descriptive panache. Her new collection, Generations, consists of fifty-four poems that concern themselves not just with the notion of the generations of life, but “generations” in the sense of energy, change, replication, and continuity—the entire process of coming or bringing into being.
About the Author
Pattiann Rogers is the author of eight poetry collections. She has been the recipient of two NEA Grants, Guggenheim and Lannan Fellowships, and five Pushcart Prizes, among other awards.
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