The Auroras: New Poems

Overview

An exciting, long-awaited collection from the National Book Award finalist, a poet of wild imagination and formidable accomplishment

David St. John's new collection of poetry, The Auroras, is the most provocative, adventurous, and stylistically eclectic work of his career. Composed as a triptych of three distinct movements, it opens with a sequence of urgent, subversive, sensually charged poems, crackling with desire.

In the center section, St....

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Overview

An exciting, long-awaited collection from the National Book Award finalist, a poet of wild imagination and formidable accomplishment

David St. John's new collection of poetry, The Auroras, is the most provocative, adventurous, and stylistically eclectic work of his career. Composed as a triptych of three distinct movements, it opens with a sequence of urgent, subversive, sensually charged poems, crackling with desire.

In the center section, St. John returns to the California landscapes of his youth, in both the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These poems are quiet and measured, yet often psychologically troubling.

The final section of The Auroras is constructed as an album of philosophical and aesthetic meditations, all haunted by the force of an emerging sense of mortality. In this collection, even the most compelling emanations of light—artistic, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual—are inevitably framed by impending darkness.

The beauty, music, and artistry of David St. John's poetry have been long admired; now The Auroras reveals the extent and breadth of his masterful poetic achievement.

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Editorial Reviews

Grace Cavalieri
“Read these poems slowly because this kind of writing does not happen overnight… THE AURORAS is luxurious whether dealing with the ordinary or the magnificent.”
Library Journal
An aurora is an atmospheric light display, a natural event with perhaps mystical overtones. In this aptly titled volume, St. John (Study for the World's Body) gives readers shimmering lights of word and thought, renderings that contain "the most glorious sound [and sights], chimes & rattles & an iridescence in the ear—." St. John divides his work into three sections, the first presenting an assortment of ballads, with characters ranging from philosophers to mathematicians. In the next, he examines the landscapes of his youth, some rife with loss; the suffering of the characters is real or metaphorical, and salvation can come full of mystery. The last section presents a dozen poems honoring auroras—some of the loveliest poems in the collection, full of magic and light: "Tell me. What is the 'beautiful,' what is the 'lost,' & what lives still, just/ at the edge of the sound of the trees? It could be the syllables of habit;/ it could be a single phrase of gratitude... or an unbroken prayer. Tell me./ What will stay, & what will hold its grace & lasting ease?" VERDICT Essential for readers of contemporary poetry.—Karla Huston, Wisconsin Acad. of Sciences, Arts & Letters, Madison
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062088482
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Prizewinning poet David St. John is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, as well as Where the Angels Come Toward Us, a volume of essays, interviews, and reviews. He is the co-editor, with Cole Swenson, of American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry. He teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Venice Beach.

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