Blue Pajamas

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At a moment in the history of American poetry when partisans of formal and free verse view each other with mutual suspicion, Cushman's poems demonstrate the pleasures and powers of treating the varieties of verse design as a poet's rightful inheritance.
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Overview

At a moment in the history of American poetry when partisans of formal and free verse view each other with mutual suspicion, Cushman's poems demonstrate the pleasures and powers of treating the varieties of verse design as a poet's rightful inheritance.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
This first book by UVA English Professor Cushman, the author of two scholarly studies of modern poetry, displays a range of styles and voices: at times studied and somber, Cushman lightens up in poems about nature and family that often gain force through quiet rhymes and regular measures. The writerþs subtle shifts in rhythm from poem to poem are in keeping with his Protestant sense of humilityþthereþs nothing showy in these straightforward narratives or gentle sonnets. Having þfussed enough with faith,þ Cushman tries to come to God through a contemplation of Lee praying for his troops in a Virginia Church. He reveres the dead: soldiers dishonored by the exploitive Civil War photographers in þWar, Effect of a Shell on a Confederate Soldierþ; F. Scott Fitzgerald, at whose grave he pledges þto misbehave, flap and roarþ; and those in his family history: his mother as a young girl praying for her father, dead at Anzio; or a sister who dies at birth (but who speaks in her own voice on Motherþs Day). Religious rite commands reconsideration: how communion literally joins us at the lip through the chalice; how the imposition of ashes makes us look anew at dust; how the sudden malfunction of the church organ results in true congregational song. If Cushmanþs nature poems seem negligible, despite gestures to Marianne Moore and Thoreau, his domestic poetry is superlative: chatty, congenial, and full of the drama of family life. A debut signaling a formidable talentþwell worth watching.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807123027
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Poems Series
  • Pages: 56
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Cushman is professor of English at the University of Virginia and the author of Fictions of Form in American Poetry and William Carlos Williams and the Meanings of Measure.

Stephen Cushman is professor of English at the University of Virginia and the author of Fictions of Form in American Poetry and William Carlos Williams and the Meanings of Measure.

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Table of Contents

Except I Shall See 3
"War, Effect of a Shell on a Confederate Soldier" 4
Grandfather, 1944 6
Gardenia 7
Errand in a Stationery Store 8
Eczema 9
Invidia 10
Two Freeze to Death Despite Experience 11
Communion 12
In Him There Is No Darkness at All 13
Imposition of Ashes 14
Observation Deck 15
The Loveliest Beach in the World 16
Old Perithia 17
The Death Oracle at Ephyra 18
Diet 19
The Pledge Taken at Fitzgerald's Grave 20
At the London Zoo 23
Enough Can Be Found 24
Fling Island 26
On Castrating the Dog 28
One Comet at Bedtime 29
Therapy 30
Indian Moon Moth 31
Seventeen-Year Cicada 32
The Copperhead Vents in a Heat Wave 33
Southern Skaters 34
When the Bough Breaks 35
Thoreau's Cairn 36
Heartmeadow Farm, Allegany, New York 39
Snow at Dodona 40
Painting the Boat 41
Blood and Snow 42
Rapunzel 43
Boy on Horseback 44
Just the End of Time 45
The Kingdom of Things 46
Farewell and Hail 47
Plant Identification 48
Adoration 50
Laundry by Hand 51
Strong to the Finish 52
Blue Pajamas 53
Notes 55
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