All Aberration

All Aberration

by Terese Svoboda
     
 

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These are poems of family, of romantic hope and disappointment, of parenthood, and of grief that move from a childhood in Nebraska in which a father strides into a ripe wheat field; to the parks and parking lots of New York City, the interchangeable landscapes of suburban America, and the more sensual environment of secluded water; to little traveled parts of

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Overview

These are poems of family, of romantic hope and disappointment, of parenthood, and of grief that move from a childhood in Nebraska in which a father strides into a ripe wheat field; to the parks and parking lots of New York City, the interchangeable landscapes of suburban America, and the more sensual environment of secluded water; to little traveled parts of Africa and the Pacific where our customs and passions are refracted into shapes that are sometimes beautiful, sometimes grotesque.

Terese Svoboda writes of a world in which the reassuring simplicity remembered from childhood is difficult to recover. Outside of this vision of the past, all present life seems an aberration—an existence where violence can supplant love, families break apart, a child dies.

All Aberration received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, a lead in Contemporary Poetry 1986 and a Notable Book nomination by the American Library Association. It was written during stays at Yaddo, MacDowell and Ossabaw, and received the benefit of a Creative Artists Public Service grant in 1982. Its poems first appeared in such magazines as Harper’s, The Nation, Paris Review, and Ploughshares.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first book, Svoboda exhibits a remarkable range and command of her subject matter. Starting out with poems about the prairie landscapes of her childhood, she ventures into explorations of love, friendship and motherhood in new and less idyllic and less pastoral places, then breaks to exotic cultures in New Zealand, the Pacific islands and Africa. If the most touching of her verses are those dedicated to a son who died in early childhood, the most appealing and original in imagery are Svoboda's erotic poems. At the center of her work is a desire not just to write about love, but to redefine it and expand its possibilities. This poet creates moments that are stronger than everyday experience, moments that are, as she suggests, all aberration, and all the more true and real for being so. December
Library Journal
Under the Blue Moon is an impressionistic volume, at times cryptic or vague, but always vigorous and intense. Barbarese's poems are interesting for the way images circle and grow out of each other``Now/ I'm repeating the thing/ just as I see it/ and each time I do/ changing the ending.'' This reliance on perception, on repetition (as in a sestina), characterizes his method of getting a thing down in order to give it meaning: ``the past is mine first,/ then the past is past.'' Svoboda, a more traditional and direct poet, seems obsessed with the violent present or ``this violence/ that is always inside your head,'' juxtaposing it against an idealized past or an imagined future as a means of healing. Grief, loss, and desire are Svoboda's chief themes. Her steady irony and ability to create rich suggestive imagery (``those passing in cars/ making the pavement sing over and over/ like wind through waving grain'') often save poems on the brink of sentimentality. She is willing to take that risk and when successful, her poems are particulary satisfying. Both of these volumes are engaging and wholly each poet's own. Recommended. Robert Hudzik, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty.
From the Publisher

"All Aberration is an excellent first volume. It is refreshingly unfashionable, strikingly written, and suffused with toughness and integrity."—Robert J. Levy, Prairie Schooner

"Svoboda exhibits a remarkable range and command of her subject matter: love, friendship and motherhood, set variously on the prairie and in Africa and the South Pacific. . . . If the most touching of her verses are those dedicated to a son who died in early childhood, the most appealing and original in imagery are Svoboda's erotic poems. At the center of her work is a desire not just to write about love, but to redefine it and expand its possibilities. This poet creates moments that are stronger than everyday experience, moments that are, as she suggests, all aberration, and all the more true and real for being so."—Publishers Weekly

"This is Svoboda's first book, and its foreboding strengths would seem to promise the development—already well under way—of a vigorous voice."—Sidney Burris, The Year in Poetry

Prairie Schooner - Robert J. Levy

All Aberration is an excellent first volume. It is refreshingly unfashionable, strikingly written, and suffused with toughness and integrity.

Year in Poetry - Sidney Burris

This is Svoboda's first book, and its foreboding strengths would seem to promise the development—already well under way—of a vigorous voice.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820308074
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
12/01/1985
Series:
Contemporary Poetry Ser.
Pages:
88

Meet the Author

Terese Svoboda is the author of ten books of prose and poetry, most recently Black Glasses Like Clark Kent which won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. Her honors in poetry include the Iowa Poetry Prize and two prizes from the Poetry Society of America, the Lucille Medwick Award and Cecil Hemley Award. Her opera WET premiered at Walt Disney's REDCAT performance space in Los Angeles in 2005. Svoboda lives in New York.

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