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The Apothecary's Heir (National Poetry)by Julianne Buchsbaum
Synopses & Reviews
Selected for the National Poetry Series by Lucie Brock-Broido
Poet Julianne Buchsbaum has won acclaim for her "rich, lucid, alliterative lexicon, full of apt surprise" (Reginald Shepherd); "there is something of Wallace Stevens in her precision, her incredible diction," says Matthew Rohrer. Her new collection, The Apothecary's Heir, depicts a damaged world in which the speaker is trying to make sense of human relationships in the aftermath of loss. A series of meditations on landscapes of our postmodern world—a sickbed, a gas station, a bomb shelter, a rest stop along a highway—these supple poems explore the frailty of human connectedness and anatomize desire in a world of pharmaceuticals and microchips.
"At once lovely in its compact artifice and genuine in its sense of memory, this third collection from Buchsbaum (Slowly, Slowly) takes on American places from California to Florida, from trackless woods to 'trailer parks,' 'drowned valleys or barges off the coast of Maine,' finding again and again in these sites an elaborate language for Romantic complaint and family elegy, 'with a lusty rhythm/ and Latinate words.' Buchsbaum's high diction, unrhymed couplets, and rococo titles ('In the Beautiful, Long-Gone and Godless Season of Hereafter') can evoke Lucie Brock-Broido, who selected the book for the National Poetry series, while her unapologetic emotion, grounded in eros, in personal mourning, and in spirits bucolic and georgic, harks back to the achievements of Dylan Thomas. Though she addresses cultivated fields, suburbs, and even the bookish spaces of historiography, Buchsbaum seems most at home in forests, where 'leaves crinkle in the woods like people telling secrets.' She calls herself a 'lexicographer of decay,' a 'voyager through/ pale, annulled provinces' as she walks out in a 'late-winter landscape' of oak trees. Such moments may strike some readers as overwrought, attentive more to manner than to something said. And yet they will strike others as sublimely charming. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Julianne Buchsbaum received an MFA from the Iowa Writer's Workshop and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Missouri. She is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Slowly, Slowly and A Little Night Comes, and her work has appeared in Verse, Southwest, and Harvard Review among other publications. She lives and works in Lawrence, Kansas, where she is a humanities librarian for the University of Kansas.
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