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Love, an Index (McSweeney's Poetry)by Rebecca Lindenberg
Synopses & Reviews
A man disappears. The woman who loves him is left scarred and haunted. In her fierce, one-of-a-kind debut, Rebecca Lindenberg tells the story — in verse — of her passionate relationship with Craig Arnold, a much-respected poet who disappeared in 2009 while hiking a volcano in Japan. Lindenberg's billowing, I-contain-multitudes style lays bare the poets sadnesses, joys, and longings in poems that are lyric and narrative, at once plainspoken and musically elaborate.
Regarding her role in Arnold's story, Lindenberg writes with clear-eyed humility and endearing dignity: The girl with the ink-stained teeth / knows she's famous / in a tiny, tragic way. / She's not / daft, after all.” And then later, playfully, of her travels in Italy with the poet, her lover: The carabinieri / wanted to know if there were bears / in our part of America. Yes, we said, / many bears. Man-eating bears? Yes, of course, / many man-eating bears.” Every poem in this collection bursts with humor, pathos, verve — and an utterly unique, soulful voice.
This widely anticipated debut, already selected as a finalist for several prominent book awards, marks the first collection in the newly minted McSweeney's Poetry Series. MPS is an imprint which seeks to publish a broad range of excellent new poetry collections in exquisitely designed hardcovers — poetry that's useful and meaningful to anyone in any walk of life.
"The whole of Lindenberg's debut is her memorial to her late husband, the widely admired poet Craig Arnold (Made Flesh), who disappeared while hiking around a Japanese volcano in 2009. Unified by its passion and looks back at an exemplary and an exceptional romance, the volume avoids monotony through the forms that Lindenberg adopts or invents. Two prose poems are called 'Status Update' — one of them says, 'Rebecca Lindenberg has joined the group It All Seems So Simple Now, In the Aftermath of This Consciousness-Altering Tragedy.' Sparse free verse recalls travel together, or else echoes Sappho's monodies: 'Hush, hush, heart-monster — // I'm varnishing/ the bone-ladder.// Don't worry, he'll be back// any minute now.' Literal memories (some involving Arnold's teenage son) balance out lyrical spells, and terse forms balance profuse ones, in this book that amounts to a prolonged keening, a transparent if information-rich lament. The long title poem presents itself as an index ('TELEPHONE/ bill, all those phone calls... TELEPHONE mobile, for so long you refused to have one... TORREY, Utah'): it's more like an essay, less lyrical, than the rest, and many readers will go there first. The volume is also the first in the new poetry series from McSweeney's Books." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Love, an Index is an utterly startling, muscular, heartbreaking book — poems pulled into existence by an event anyone who reads them wants only to reverse. Yet facing the irreversible fully, and still finding words, is what poems do. They demonstrate what it is to go on. I wish this book were not here to be read. But it is. And be read it will, with gratitude, stopped breath, amazement.” Jane Hirshfield
"These poems accomplish — beautifully, fiercely — fix a life into a handful of moments, beyond the flow of eternity. But here Lindenberg's attention is always drifting beyond the page, to the terrible what-is, the tender what-ifs. Each poem seems to say, This is what we were given, this is what we made, and it must now, somehow, be enough." Nick Flynn
"An A-to-Z collection of poems that are passionate, plainspoken, elegiac, and lyric as they capture the moments of a life shared." Vanity Fair
"Perfectly conjures the inevitable inseparability of grief and love." Elliot Bay Book Company
"These poems are heartbreaking, not just because they mourn a lover lost but because they celebrate the enduring presence of a love shared." Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review)
"Lindenberg executes her grief in measured, clean lines that speak of more to come... It comes to the point where a single word reaches out and takes the reader by the heart." Weave Magazine
"Beautiful and romantic." School Library Journal
"Lindenberg effortlessly creates an egoless world, full of feeling yet devoid of melodrama....A poet of immense power." Bin Nguyen, ZYZZYVA
"Love, An Index tells a beautiful and heartbreaking story." The Rumpus
About the Author
Rebecca Lindenberg received her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Utah, where she studied under Donald Revell. Her poems have appeared in the Believer, The Huffington Post, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Poetry and elsewhere. She was awarded a fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 2009, and a National Endowment of the Arts Literature Fellowship in 2011. Lindenberg lives in Salt Lake City.
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