Synopses & Reviews
In this haunting, beautiful third collection from Jill Bialosky, the poet examines the intrusion of eros, art, and the imagination on ordinary life.
The lover who whispers “Is it still snowing? . . . Will you stay with me?” in the first poem reappears throughout the book in different guises—sometimes seemingly real, at other times as muse, doppelgänger, or dream. In “The Seduction,” as the lovers stand to watch a house fire— “gorgeous, dazzling, / the orange and reds of such ruin”—the poem, like the book itself, becomes a study in the nature of reality, selfhood, and the different levels of consciousness we inhabit. Evoking Penelope and Odysseus and Orpheus and Eurydice, Bialosky asks us to consider the instability of the self and the myriad forms it can take through art, in poems that are sexy, dark, and at once cool and emotional. The creation of the observing mind is paramount here; whether the lover goes or stays, the poems remain.
In Intruder—her most mesmerizing gathering of poems yet—Bialosky has captured not only the fleeting truths and pleasures of passion but also its mysterious dangers.
Dont be afraid. Come closer. Its bath time. The boys in the tub, Fathers shaving, Mother is dressed in her evening wear: black silk slip, high heels, leaning on the tubs edge.......
Look into Mothers eyes. What truth do they belie?
from “Saturday Night”
"More self-assured and powerful than her first two, this third book of verse from Bialosky (The End of Desire) modulates between restrained happiness and unpredictable sorrow, beginning by observing her grade-school aged son, proceeding through troubles in a longstanding marriage and returning time and again to her sense of poetic mission. A dead friend, remembered in 'Snow in April,' shows Bialosky 'the torment one sees in those who have the need// to understand, to discover, to know, to transcend// the landlocked self.' Her lines suggest persistent debts to Louise Glck, whose cadences echo perhaps too strongly throughout these poems. Bialosky is also a novelist and an editor at Norton; these poems show both a storyteller's gift for implicit narrative and a sophisticate's sense of the other arts, with a sequence of short poems based on paintings by Eric Fischl, along with unrhymed sonnets, a skillful sestina and a handful of titles beginning 'The Poet...' (for example, 'The Poet Discovers the Significance of the Old Manuscripts'). Bialosky's book ends up undeniably personal, confirming her in the most serious of all her vocations: the setting down of a tumultuous inner life into clear, shared words." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Praise for Intruder
“Jill Bialosky's powerful third book of poetry, Intruder, is sharply perceptive, reminding readers about the way life forces us to our knees while restoring us to our true selves.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Jill Bialosky’s Intruder is a perfectly transparent esoteric poem. Who is the speaker, who is the intruder? We cannot know, although we know these figures intimately…Her volume is music, each note of the melody significant, including its silent breaks and endings replete with message and emotion… To experience in any art a new shock of the good, the beautiful, the terror, is a rare sweetness…In the last few years no book of poetry has so completely captivated me as Intruder.” —Willis Barnstone, New Letters
“[The poems] in Jill Bialosky’s Intruder are erotic dialogues. But this does not mean they are “just” love poems. Like Plato’s Phaedrus, [they] are as much speeches on love and desire as they are speeches on speech, on the possibility and limits of expression . . . Bialosky is the poet’s love poet, struggling as much with her own imagination and desire to write as with a real other.”—Kascha Semonovitch, Kenyon Review
“[Bialosky’s] elusive, subtly erudite work as a poet transports her to another realm entirely…These are some of the most psychologically astute poems about being a mother, and especially about being the mother of a son, since Plath’s.” —Diann Blakely, Harvard Review
“Jill Bialosky’s third book of poems, Intruder, makes the writer’s (or artist’s) conflicts her central subject. [ It] is the accomplished work of a poet in mid-career, grappling with both the mystery and the will to embody it.” —Ron Slate.com
“Hypnotic . . . Dreamlike poems . . . energized by their own darkness.” —Library Journal
“These poems show both a storyteller’s gift for implicit narrative and a sophisticate’s sense of other arts . . . Bialosky’s book ends up . . . confirming her in her most serious of all her vocations: the setting down of a tumultuous inner life into clear, shared words.” —Publishers Weekly
“Gorgeous . . . what a rush these stormy poems of love, disruption, and resignation are, as intense and perfectly noted as violin concertos.” —Booklist
“Jill Bialosky’s Intruder is a powerful work that combines an inquiry into the depths of passion with the details of ordinary life -- a boy at baseball, a woman cutting sunflower stems. In this third collection, she has invented a mode for juxtaposing abstractions with moving images. She writes with urgency of the mysteries of art, which have a direct bearing on the joys and dangers of simply being alive. I read this book in wonder.”