Figures for the Ghost: Poems

Figures for the Ghost: Poems

by Cairns
     
 

In Figures for the Ghost, Scott Cairns offers postmodern meditations on the problems of epistemology, interpretation and belief. The collection is distinguished by its implicit proposition that uncertainty (or decenteredness) is a pleasurable state. "In their gestures and in their intent, the poems are religious," says Cairns, "but honestly so. Skirting didacticism,…  See more details below

Overview

In Figures for the Ghost, Scott Cairns offers postmodern meditations on the problems of epistemology, interpretation and belief. The collection is distinguished by its implicit proposition that uncertainty (or decenteredness) is a pleasurable state. "In their gestures and in their intent, the poems are religious," says Cairns, "but honestly so. Skirting didacticism, they perform a willing trajectory into the unknown."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This book of poems is a quiet, thoughtful excavation of the past. The voice of Cairns ( The Translation of Babel ) is conversational and coaxing--confiding in us secrets that seem to be our own. In ``The Turning of Lot's Wife,'' one of the numerous poems in which Cairns adroitly recasts Biblical characters and themes, Lot's wife ``saw that she could / not turn her back on even one doomed child of the city, but / must turn her back instead upon the saved.'' Comfortably weaving between his own personal past, classical myth and Christian theology, Cairns shows a disarming ability to gain the reader's ear with a murmuring tone. Listening, we hear a speaker of wry directness. For example, in ``The History of My Late Progress,'' Cairns describes his own brush with a heart attack: `` I thought I was a goner . / Not really. / No one, I guess, ever really thinks that. / The closest we come is this uncanny, / dispassionate sitting-back, just watching / to see how we'll be saved.'' At times, his lines lose their tightness and fall toward prose. But Figures for the Ghost is the work of a writer who seems to have spent a long time listening before reporting what he has heard. (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780820316017
Publisher:
University of Georgia Press
Publication date:
06/01/1994
Series:
Contemporary Poetry Ser.
Pages:
72
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.23(d)

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