Synopses & Reviews
Temper is at once violent and controlled, unflinching and unforgiving in temperament. The poems are mercilessly recursive, placing pressure on the lyric as a mode of both the elegiac and the ecstatic. The result is an enforced silence, urgent with grief.
Winner of the 2008 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry
Selected by Lynn Emanuel
The elegies in Temper interrogate the way grief leaves us confrontational, in a state of fracture.
About the Author
“The difficulties of making art about violence might have churned the poems into melodrama or diffused them into abstraction, but Bachmann’s temperate approach yields work that is eerily calm and anything but bloodless. Tough and impressive, ‘Temper’ leaves its mark.” —The Georgia Review
"Here we have metamorphosis, resonance, transfromation, the alchemy of art. Bachmann is able by a few simple direct gestures . . . to connect her personal grief and tragedy to the whole tradition of English (and Western) verse and to the poetic impulse itself to make beauty out of sorrow."
“A thorough and vivid emotional narrative, taking the reader to an unsettling depth of personal tragedy at breakneck speed.”
“In her lush economies, psychic darkness, and imperative forthrightness, Bachmann is clearly an heir of Louise Glück and there’s a trace of Whitman here, too . . . The grief in ‘Temper’ is raw, relentless, and unadorned; in the crucible of Bachmann’s sensibility, this sorry becomes gracious force.”
—On the Seawall
“An often haunting image of time juttering forward and back ceaselessly, lives never completely explained or tragedy never finally understood.”
“Nothing short of a stunning debut. Rarely have I felt so compelled by a collection, so utterly incapable of turning away. “
“Bachmann is able—by a few simple, direct gestures toward pastoral elegy, invoking nymphs and shepherds by rejecting them—to connect her personal grief and tragedy to the whole tradition of English (and Western) verse and to the poetic impulse itself to make beauty out of sorrow.”