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The Game of Boxes: Poems

by

The Game of Boxes: Poems Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

*Winner of the 2012 James Laughlin Award*

 
The second collection by Catherine Barnett, whose “poems are scrupulously restrained and beautifully made” (Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post)
 
Everyone asks us what we're afraid of

but children aren't supposed to say.

We could put loneliness on the list.

We could put the list on the list, its infinity.

We could put infinity down.

--from “Fields of No One to Ask”

 
In Catherine Barnett's The Game of Boxes, love stutters its way in and out of both family and erotic bonds. Whittled down to song and fragments of story, these poems teeter at the edge of dread. A gang of unchaperoned children, grappling with blame and forgiveness, speak with tenderness and disdain about “the mothers” and “the fathers,” absent figures they seek in “the faces of clouds” and in the cars that pass by. Other poems investigate the force of maternal love and its at-times misguided ferocities. The final poem, a long sequence of nocturnes, eschews almost everything but the ghostly erotic. These are bodies at the edge of experience, watchful and defamiliarized.

Review:

"Though the poems in the long-awaited second collection from Barnett (Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced) are only a handful of lines each, they are deceptively sophisticated. The book's title originates from a game that the speaker plays with her son, 'a simple game,/ seven dots by seven, eight by eight:/ there's no end to it.' Structurally, the game parallels Barnett's poems, which are tight and self-contained but when stacked, build into larger suites. The book is organized into three of these sections; the first is called 'endless forms most beautiful.' Scattered amid poems about a mother and her son are pieces written from the first-person plural perspective of an amorphous chorus. Abandoned, the chorus moves through various settings: 'they let us go out late, past closing,/ they leave us to winds.' 'Sleeping/ eyes open, who mothers us?' they lament. Fragmentary poems that stutter through lust, sex, and sorrow form the book's second section, 'sweet double, talk-talk.' Barnett's emotions are so potent they become something you could choke on: 'He's a lozenge of smut,' she writes, with the acute, straightforward vulnerability that makes these poems brave. 'The modern period,' the book's last section is the shortest, but also the most lucidly personal. 'Perhaps I'll/ be, in my next life, mist,' Barnett muses. 'When did it/ get so mysterious? This isn't me speaking/ but the old gentle hiss of a slow glass ship in a bottle on the sea.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

*Winner of the 2012 James Laughlin Award*

 
The second collection by Catherine Barnett, whose “poems are scrupulously restrained and beautifully made” (Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post)
 
Everyone asks us what we're afraid of

but children aren't supposed to say.

We could put loneliness on the list.

We could put the list on the list, its infinity.

We could put infinity down.

--from “Fields of No One to Ask”

 
In Catherine Barnett's The Game of Boxes, love stutters its way in and out of both family and erotic bonds. Whittled down to song and fragments of story, these poems teeter at the edge of dread. A gang of unchaperoned children, grappling with blame and forgiveness, speak with tenderness and disdain about “the mothers” and “the fathers,” absent figures they seek in “the faces of clouds” and in the cars that pass by. Other poems investigate the force of maternal love and its at-times misguided ferocities. The final poem, a long sequence of nocturnes, eschews almost everything but the ghostly erotic. These are bodies at the edge of experience, watchful and defamiliarized.

About the Author

Catherine Barnett is the author of a previous poetry book, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced. She has received a Whiting Writer's Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555976200
Author:
Barnett, Catherine
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
Single Author / American
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
88
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

The Game of Boxes: Poems Used Trade Paper
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Product details 88 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555976200 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Though the poems in the long-awaited second collection from Barnett (Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced) are only a handful of lines each, they are deceptively sophisticated. The book's title originates from a game that the speaker plays with her son, 'a simple game,/ seven dots by seven, eight by eight:/ there's no end to it.' Structurally, the game parallels Barnett's poems, which are tight and self-contained but when stacked, build into larger suites. The book is organized into three of these sections; the first is called 'endless forms most beautiful.' Scattered amid poems about a mother and her son are pieces written from the first-person plural perspective of an amorphous chorus. Abandoned, the chorus moves through various settings: 'they let us go out late, past closing,/ they leave us to winds.' 'Sleeping/ eyes open, who mothers us?' they lament. Fragmentary poems that stutter through lust, sex, and sorrow form the book's second section, 'sweet double, talk-talk.' Barnett's emotions are so potent they become something you could choke on: 'He's a lozenge of smut,' she writes, with the acute, straightforward vulnerability that makes these poems brave. 'The modern period,' the book's last section is the shortest, but also the most lucidly personal. 'Perhaps I'll/ be, in my next life, mist,' Barnett muses. 'When did it/ get so mysterious? This isn't me speaking/ but the old gentle hiss of a slow glass ship in a bottle on the sea.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
*Winner of the 2012 James Laughlin Award*

 
The second collection by Catherine Barnett, whose “poems are scrupulously restrained and beautifully made” (Edward Hirsch, The Washington Post)
 
Everyone asks us what we're afraid of

but children aren't supposed to say.

We could put loneliness on the list.

We could put the list on the list, its infinity.

We could put infinity down.

--from “Fields of No One to Ask”

 
In Catherine Barnett's The Game of Boxes, love stutters its way in and out of both family and erotic bonds. Whittled down to song and fragments of story, these poems teeter at the edge of dread. A gang of unchaperoned children, grappling with blame and forgiveness, speak with tenderness and disdain about “the mothers” and “the fathers,” absent figures they seek in “the faces of clouds” and in the cars that pass by. Other poems investigate the force of maternal love and its at-times misguided ferocities. The final poem, a long sequence of nocturnes, eschews almost everything but the ghostly erotic. These are bodies at the edge of experience, watchful and defamiliarized.

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