Synopses & Reviews
A magnificent new collection from National Book Award finalist and Kingsley Tufts Award winner Linda Gregerson
In eloquent poems about Ariadne, Theseus, and Dido, the death of a father, a bombing raid in Lebanon, and in a magnificent series detailing Masaccios Brancacci frescoes, The Selvage deftly traces the “line between” the “wonder and woe” of human experience. Keenly attuned to the precariousness of our existence in a fractured world—of “how little the world will spare us”—Gregerson explores the cruelty of human and political violence, such as the recent island massacre in Norway and “the current nightmare” of war and terrorism. And yet, running as a “counterpoint” to violence and cruelty is “The reigning brilliance / of the genome and / the risen moon . . . ,” “The / arachnids exoskeleton. The kestrels eye.” The Selvage is the boldest evidence yet that Linda Gregersons unique combination of dramatic lyricism and fierce intelligence transcends current fashions to claim an enduring place in American poetry.
"Gregerson opens her fifth volume with gritty American scenes the farms where she grew up, with their Scandinavian immigrants, 'the map// of blessed second chances writ in tasseled/ corn,' the school bus stops of blue- and of white-collar towns, occasions for lessons about place, about social class, about 'honest work.' She then takes off into Latin literature, Christian tradition, Renaissance art, Greek myth. 'Theseus Forgetting' compares the checkered record of that Athenian hero to the checkered records of our lives, and to the history of classical reading: 'What comes to us in pieces think// of Sappho on the midden heap lays claim/ to us in ways the merely/ perfect can't.' Gregerson uses her learning while trying to share it; weaker poems can read like remarks on their sources, but the strongest stand on their own, whether considering Ovid by the Black Sea (he didn't give the place a fair chance) or reacting, without allusion or ornament, to grisly child abuse: 'When I'm/ allowed to run the world you'll/ have to get a license just to take the course on parenting and// everyone/ will fail it and good riddance we'll die out.' She is not often so angry, but she can be that powerful, that direct, regularly." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The poems in Selvage, Linda Gregersons first collection since her Kingsley Tufts Award winning Magnetic North, allude to Milton, to the great myths of Ariadne, Theseus, and Dido, and include a magnificent series detailing Masaccios frescoes about the life of Saint Peter.
About the Author
LINDA GREGERSON is the author of Waterborne, The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, and Fire in the Conservatory. She teaches Renaissance literature and creative writing at the University of Michigan. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry as well as in the Atlantic, Poetry, Ploughshares, the Yale Review, TriQuarterly, and other publications. Among her many awards and honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, four Pushcart Prizes, and a Kingsley Tufts Award.
Table of Contents
The Selvage 1
Pajama Quotient 4
Slight Tremor 7
Slaters Measure 10
Lately, Ive taken to 21
Getting and Spending 25
Ariadne in Triumph 31
Theseus Forgetting 35
Dido Refuses to Speak 38
From the Life of Saint Peter 49
Her Argument for the Existence of God 58
Ovid in Exile 64
“. . . More Instructive Than a Long Trip to Europe” 69
Still Life 72