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Other titles in the National Poetry series:
Bone Map: Poems (National Poetry)by Sara Eliza Johnson
Synopses & Reviews
Sara Eliza Johnson's stunning, deeply visceral first collection, Bone Map (2013 National Poetry Series Winner), pulls shards of tenderness from a world on the verge of collapse, where violence and terror infuse the body, the landscape, and dreams: a handful of blackberries offered from bloodied arms, bee stings likened to pulses of sunlight, a honeycomb of marrow exposed. All moments will shine if you cut them open. / Will glisten like entrails in the sun.” With figurative language that makes long, associative leaps, and with metaphors and images that continually resurrect themselves across poems, the collection builds and transforms its world through a locomotive echo—a regenerative force—that comes to parallel the psychic quest for redemption that unfolds in its second half. The result is a deeply affecting composition that will establish the already decorated young author as an important and vital new voice in American poetry.
"Johnson's National Poetry Series-winning debut collection speaks to us 'from a country near ruin,// from a forest lit only by rifle fire,' where 'the moon// ... rolls through you/ like a great city before a war.' These poems are missives from landscapes so isolated they approximate post-apocalypse: ice fields, ravaged woods, the primordial sea. Johnson's landscapes are often empty, save for the single, clear-voiced speaker and, on occasion, wild animals such as the stag that catches 'its antlers on the light's belly,/ spilling purple viscera/ everywhere.' Surreal and fable-like, this is not a topical collection, and yet these poems are urgently aware that they were born of and into a world in which 'Wind deepens the wounds// I leave with my boots. Nothing// is well.' When Johnson's 'war drones and swarms,' her verbs double as nouns. This concern with the loss of integrity endured in a time of war marks a work that is equally preoccupied with the figuring of personal loss: 'Your hands fell through me — / two lights I almost broke// in half wanting.' Johnson's poems, like light, clarify even as they pierce: 'Though they cannot be deciphered,/ cannot become lighter,/ all moments will shine/ if you cut them open,/ glisten like entrails in the sun.' (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Sara Eliza Johnson's stunning, deeply visceral first collection pulls shards of tenderness from a world where violence infuses the body, landscape, and dreams: a handful of blackberries gathered from bloodied arms, bee stings likened to pulses of sunlight, a honeycomb of marrow. All moments will shine if you let them. / Will glisten like entrails in the sun.” Inspired by sources as diverse as the post-apocalyptic elegies of the Anglo-Saxons and the work of writers like Anna Akhmatova, Paul Celan, and Zbigniew Herbert, the author seeks to lyricize and transmute the violence and terror inherent in a world on the verge of collapse. The result is a deeply affecting composition that will establish the already decorated young author as an important and vital new voice in American poetry.
About the Author
National Poetry Series and Rona Jaffe Award winner Sara Eliza Johnson has published poems in Boston Review and the New England Review, among many others publications. She is the Vice Presidential Fellow in creative writing at the University of Utah. She lives in Salt Lake City.
Martha Collins is the author of six collections of poetry and three books of co-translations from the Vietnamese. She founded the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston and for ten years served as the Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. Currently editor-at-large for FIELD and an editor for Oberlin College Press, she lives in Cambridge, MA.
Table of Contents
As the Sickle Moon Guts a Cloud
Lesson, During the War
View From the Fence, On Which I Sit and Dangle My Legs
The Last Przewalskis Horse
The Dream of Water
Parable of the Flood
When There Is Burning Instead
Elegy Surrounded by Water
Archipelago: Island of Sheep
Archipelago: The Paradise of Birds
Archipelago: Tabula Rasa
Archipelago: The Soporific Well
Instructions for Wintering on the Ice Field
Letter from the Ice Field, October
Letter from the Ice Field, December
Letter from the Ice Field, January
Letter from the Ice Field, March
Archipelago: Ultima Thule
The City Where Men are Mended
Let Us Consider Where We Might Have A Home
How the World Was Made
What Our Readers Are Saying
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