Carnations

( 3 )

Overview

In Anthony Carelli's remarkable debut, Carnations, the poems attempt to reanimate dead metaphors as blossoms: wild and lovely but also fleeting, mortal, and averse to the touch. Here, the poems are carnations, not only flowers, but also body-making words. Nodding to influences as varied as George Herbert, Francis Ponge, Fernando Pessoa, and D. H. Lawrence, Carelli asserts that the poet's materials--words, objects, phenomena--are sacred, wilting in the moment, yet perennially renewed. Often taking titles from a ...

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Carnations

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Overview

In Anthony Carelli's remarkable debut, Carnations, the poems attempt to reanimate dead metaphors as blossoms: wild and lovely but also fleeting, mortal, and averse to the touch. Here, the poems are carnations, not only flowers, but also body-making words. Nodding to influences as varied as George Herbert, Francis Ponge, Fernando Pessoa, and D. H. Lawrence, Carelli asserts that the poet's materials--words, objects, phenomena--are sacred, wilting in the moment, yet perennially renewed. Often taking titles from a biblical vocabulary, Carnations reminds us that unremarkable places and events--a game of Frisbee in a winter park, workers stacking panes in a glass factory, or the daily opening of a café--can, in a blink, be new. A short walk home is briefly transformed into a cathedral, and the work-worn body becomes a dancer, a prophet, a muse.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Carelli's debut introduces a voice as refreshingly contemporary as it is pleasantly expansive in its subject matter. In the first poem, the speaker and his girlfriend play Frisbee in Prospect Park while horses interrupt the scene; in another, two young friends journey down a river and are surprised by older men on a footbridge staring on. In both, the innocuous autobiographical material establishes quite impressively Carelli's tensile strength—to meditate, in a colloquial tongue, on matters of faith and spirit; to bend a vaguely iambic line into well-combed tercets, or more subdued free-verse lines. The results are as elegant and eloquent as they are humane and believable. In "The Disciples," among other poems, Carelli considers faith and, in this case, pays homage to Ovid, imagining a conversation in a Wisconsin pub, borrowing poetic rhythms from well-worn Catholic prayers: Ovid, full of grace,/ you'll never survive a night in this snow. So,/ when the drifts take your legs and you call out,/ may I know enough to know it's too late,/ that the time has come to leave you behind." (May)
Booklist
There is no poem entitled Carnations in Carelli's first collection. But affection is its master mood, the affection of a vital young man for the world of his experience. . . . They're real experiences, conducive to mixed feelings, yet Carelli writes of them in language so enlivening and fresh that they become blessings, which may be why most of the poems have churchly and theological titles.
— Ray Olson
On the Seawall blog
Carnations pays homage to the poet's masters and ushers in an exciting new talent. . . . [T]his wonderful collection is as good a guide as they get.
— Piotr Florczyk
Newark Star-Ledger
Readers may fervently wish that this promisingly talented writer never quits his day job, as warming student egos in classrooms might possibly prove less inspirational than pies in Brooklyn.
— Benjamin Ivry
The Observer
I picked up Anthony Carelli's Carnations, a first collection, not expecting to linger but curious, not least because Princeton's outstanding contemporary poets series, edited by Paul Muldoon, is reliably unpredictable. And as soon as I had started, I was charmed. . . . He is able to write in a way that allows for the sublime and the absurd to come together. But Carelli's free-flowering humour never distracts from his purpose and the ending is masterly.
Rain Taxi Review of Books
This is a magnificent book. . . . Ooh! God bless these poems!
— Raphael Allison
Tribune
[W]arm, conversational and colloquial.
— Keith Richmond
Booklist - Ray Olson
There is no poem entitled Carnations in Carelli's first collection. But affection is its master mood, the affection of a vital young man for the world of his experience. . . . They're real experiences, conducive to mixed feelings, yet Carelli writes of them in language so enlivening and fresh that they become blessings, which may be why most of the poems have churchly and theological titles.
On the Seawall blog - Piotr Florczyk
Carnations pays homage to the poet's masters and ushers in an exciting new talent. . . . [T]his wonderful collection is as good a guide as they get.
Newark Star-Ledger - Benjamin Ivry
Readers may fervently wish that this promisingly talented writer never quits his day job, as warming student egos in classrooms might possibly prove less inspirational than pies in Brooklyn.
Rain Taxi Review of Books - Raphael Allison
This is a magnificent book. . . . Ooh! God bless these poems!
Tribune - Keith Richmond
[W]arm, conversational and colloquial.
From the Publisher
Finalist for the 2012 Levis Reading Prize, Virginia Commonwealth University

"There is no poem entitled Carnations in Carelli's first collection. But affection is its master mood, the affection of a vital young man for the world of his experience. . . . They're real experiences, conducive to mixed feelings, yet Carelli writes of them in language so enlivening and fresh that they become blessings, which may be why most of the poems have churchly and theological titles."—Ray Olson, Booklist

"Carnations pays homage to the poet's masters and ushers in an exciting new talent. . . . [T]his wonderful collection is as good a guide as they get."—Piotr Florczyk, On the Seawall blog

"Readers may fervently wish that this promisingly talented writer never quits his day job, as warming student egos in classrooms might possibly prove less inspirational than pies in Brooklyn."—Benjamin Ivry, Newark Star-Ledger

"I picked up Anthony Carelli's Carnations, a first collection, not expecting to linger but curious, not least because Princeton's outstanding contemporary poets series, edited by Paul Muldoon, is reliably unpredictable. And as soon as I had started, I was charmed. . . . He is able to write in a way that allows for the sublime and the absurd to come together. But Carelli's free-flowering humour never distracts from his purpose and the ending is masterly."—The Observer (Poetry Book of the Month)

"This is a magnificent book. . . . Ooh! God bless these poems!"—Raphael Allison, Rain Taxi Review of Books

"[W]arm, conversational and colloquial."—Keith Richmond, Tribune

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Anthony Carelli was raised in Poynette, Wisconsin, and studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before completing an MFA in poetry at New York University. His poems have appeared in various magazines, including the "New Yorker". He lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is his first book.

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Table of Contents

The Sabbath 1
Glass Work Song 3
The Prophets 6
The Muse 7
The Crusades 10
The Builder 12
The Collar 13
The Apostles 16
Discernment 18
The Chance 19
In Ordinary Time 20
October Advent 21
The Begats 23
The Shepherd 27
Lectio Divina 28
The Hours 30
Agnus Dei 32
The Brooklyn Heavens 35
Evangelical 36
Birthday 38
Sermon 40
Original Sin 41
Faith 42
Incarnation 43
No, Euripides 46
Yahweh 47
Apples for Thoreau 48
Jerusalem 50
The Crucifixion 51
The Lord's Prayer 52
The Disciples 54
Sure 55
Amen 57

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Customer Reviews

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