Synopses & Reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: an exquisitely witty and poignant series of prose poems, each one a precise drama revealing the receding vista of our lives.
In these sparkling, often hilarious short paragraphs, Mark Strand, writing as both a skeptic and a believer, comments on our foibles, our transient passions, and our dauntless pursuit of the beautiful. His paragraphs, sometimes appearing as pure prose, other times as impure poetry, are like riddles, their answers vanishing just as they come into view. Strand has the longest stare of any poet in our pantheon; nevertheless he loves to tread lightly, to be "almost invisible," while his writing remains indelible. It speaks of the human condition in all its folly, sorrow, and persistence, and does so with eloquence.
"Strand's 13th collection comprises a series of short prose poems that borrow elements of fables as well as more modern forms of fiction, all with the grim turns and deadpan beauty for which Strand, who won the Pulitzer and is among the most famous American poets, is known. In one poem a man returns 'to the country from which he had started many years before' to find, in his childhood playground, 'dust-filled shafts of sunlight struck the tawny leaves of trees and withered hedges. Empty bags littered the grass.' Another waxes nostalgic about nostalgia itself, 'those hours given over to basking in the glow of an imagined future, of being carried away in streams of promise by a love or a passion so strong that one felt altered forever and convinced that the smallest particle of the surrounding world was charged with a purpose of impossible grandeur.' A poem called 'In the Afterlife' asks, 'When no one remembers, what is there?' These are poems of failing light, meditations on death's nearness that do nothing to stave it off. This is a short book, but Strand's many fans won't be disappointed." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Strand comes an exquisitely witty and poignant series of prose poems. Sometimes appearing as pure prose, sometimes as impure poetry, but always with Strand's clarity and simplicity of style, they are like riddles, their answers vanishing just as they appear within reach. Fable, domestic satire, meditation, joke, and fantasy all come together in what is arguably the liveliest, most entertaining book that Strand has yet written.
From Pulitzer Prize–winner Mark Strand comes an exquisitely witty and poignant series of prose poems. Sometimes appearing as pure prose, sometimes as impure poetry, but always with Strand’s clarity and simplicity of style, they are like riddles, their answers vanishing just as they appear within reach. Fable, domestic satire, meditation, joke, and fantasy all come together in what is arguably the liveliest, most entertaining book that Strand has yet written.
About the Author
MARK STRAND is the author of twelve earlier books of poems. He is also the author of a book of stories, three volumes of translations, a number of anthologies (most recently 100 Great Poems of the Twentieth Century), and monographs on the artists William Bailey and Edward Hopper. He has received many honors and awards for his poems, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Pulitzer Prize (for Blizzard of One), the Bollingen Prize, and the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1990 he was chosen Poet Laureate of the United States. He teaches at Columbia University.