Overview

Jill Bialosky's first collection of poems is an exceptional one--moving, very accomplished, marked by an unflinching realism and a sharply observant eye combined with great technical skill. Childhood and adolescence shattered by a father's death and the struggles of a mother to raise her daughters are among its concerns. The poems have a dignity and magic that are quite ...
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End of Desire

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Overview

Jill Bialosky's first collection of poems is an exceptional one--moving, very accomplished, marked by an unflinching realism and a sharply observant eye combined with great technical skill. Childhood and adolescence shattered by a father's death and the struggles of a mother to raise her daughters are among its concerns. The poems have a dignity and magic that are quite distinctive.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Just when it was becoming fashionable to admit having been raised in Cleveland, Bialosky's collection comes along to quiet the urge. In this first book, Ohio is a bland winterscape of fatherlessness, sister-worship and making out with men of questionable background. That this joylessness doesn't reach cathartic heights is due to the poems having, in the most literal sense, too much heart. There is a "reckless heart," a "lost heart," a "cold heart" and a "breaking heart"; stars that are like "burning hearts," "light like a bleeding heart," a heart as wild as "horse hooves," a face that is the "halves of a heart," a doll missing her heart and a "heart of patience." While Bialosky demonstrates a clear and discerning eye, establishes fine rhythms and fashions smart line breaks, the impact of her work, focusing mainly on loss-of father, of sister, of child-is blunted by a uniformity of tone and a lack of unique and potent imagery. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Quiet poems. Like whispers in a fierce forest. Bialosky has given us things we shall never be able to forget."
--Hayden Carruth
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307555939
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/4/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 88
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Jill Bialosky was born in Cleveland, Ohio. she studied at Ohio University and received a Masters of Arts degree from the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Iowa's Writers Workshop. Her poems have been published in many magazines, including Partisan Review and TriQuarterly, and have received a number of awards. She is currently an editor at W. W. Norton & Company and lives in New York City.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Read an Excerpt

When I was a child
I used to love to stare at lovers--
at couples kissing, a man looking
longingly into a woman's eyes,
a woman adoring back
and marvel over the possibilities of love.
Usually I was with my sister,
standing in a grocery line,
or outside a theater.
She would tug at my sleeve,
roll her eyes and banish me with her words:
"Stop staring! What's wrong with you!"
I did feel that something was wrong--
that I could be so content absorbing
the wave of her hair, the scent of perfume,
his strong fingers cupped around her shoulder.
It was the long, uninterurupted gaze I most preferred.
At the movies, I would draw into myself
as I watched on the big screen lovers kiss
and felt a stab of pain in the center of my stomach
travel through my body like a drug--
and for that brief time it was as though
I was the lover, the receiver of such rapt attention.
When the lights came on I carried the kiss
with me all through the rest of the late afternoon,
through the long walk home underneath the autumn arbors,
through the dull and tedious routine of dinner,
until I was alone in my bedroom and could replay
the scene in my mind without interuption.
I knew that as long as I was allowed to look,
to linger, to stare,
to become one with that spell that was so other,
to know and then to have--
that one day, my desire would end.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Table of Contents

Cornfields 3
Fathers in the Snow 7
Ballet Lesson 17
A Sister's Story 19
Premonition 20
My Mother Was a Lover of Flowers 21
Sisters 22
Three on a Match 27
Carousel 29
Carnival 30
Ruined Secret 32
Stairway to Heaven 34
My Groom 36
The Lover's Gift 38
The Artist Misjudges Perfection 39
A Lover's Quarrel 40
Blueberries 42
Oh Giant Flowers 43
A Lover's Plea 44
Without 45
Ironing 46
Grief 47
What You Are Left With 51
Skating Pond 52
Cold Heart 53
Snow Falling Upside Down 54
House Cat 55
Childbirth, 1943 56
History Lesson 59
Silvet 61
The Day the World Stopped 63
The End of Desire 64
Baltimore, On Turning Thirty-Seven 65
The Drowning 68
The Runaway 70
The Suicide's Garden 71
The Goddess of Despair 72
Stolen Cry 73
American Landscape 74
The Dawn of the End of Civilization 76
Notes 78
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