For / Edition 1

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Overview

When Carol Snow published her first volume of poetry, Artist and Model, in 1989, poet Michael Palmer praised the "complex music [Snow] forms from our simplest words" and noted that she "reflects on the struggle toward—and limits of—representation itself. . . . Artist and Model is a first book of singular poetic intelligence and attention."


In For, the first volume in the New California Poetry series, Snow continues her vast and original poetic project of defining the relationship among art, life, and the acts of perception that define and limit those terms. If there is "subject matter" —an elusive term when one is talking about Snow's writing—it is the play between memory and moment.

Here is work that makes innovative use of autobiographical material, in finely wrought and highly sculpted poetry of great integrity, power, and subtlety. The kinship For has with Eastern thought and poetic forms extends to the fact that, like the poetry of Tu Fu, it has a depth charge of spare style. Among American writers, Snow's antecedents include Elizabeth Bishop and George Oppen.

For synthesizes something classical and ancient—the need to observe cleanly and to represent a thing simply and with force. Snow forges new and remarkable poetry by combining traditions that once seemed incompatible—the materials of life and a purely aesthetic, experimental style.

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What People Are Saying

Jorie Graham
[Carol Snow] teaches us, among other things how fiercely syntax cab be used as an instrument for self-scrutiny, and how brutally self-transforming a verbal action can be when undertaken in good faith. For although it is the relationship between aesthetics and politics, which is most apparent in this work, it is the sustained and almost desperate personal honesty…which surprises and moves me.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520217843
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/11/2000
  • Series: New California Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 73
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Snow's Artist and Model won the 1990 Book Award from the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and lives in San Francisco.

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Read an Excerpt




Excerpt


    Tether


It ran from me, its tether dangling.
No: it ran from me, I had only the loose tether.


    Positions of the Body VI


Wanting not only the stillness of hills
but intercession—as by new grass
on the hills—with the silence
towering over the hills, Moore sculpts a massive
figure in black marble: a woman's
body, reclining, curved; eloquent
as bone, shell,
stones worn beyond contradiction.


*


                                   You stopped
by the roadside, hills
lying in middle distance, few houses. Only the green
reaches of vineyard intervening
seemed manageable, that is, human—a matter
of scale; the silence was huge, so that only
the hills (which were huge,
also) could rest.
Cézanne, leaning to his canvas, would have mastered
that view, you thought: the blues and greens
and ochres of proximity and distance, that tenuous
position in the dance, not of the drawing
together of unlike, like bodies, but of the holding
apart of thebody and terrain; you were held
so still, you thought that you might become those hills,
or must have been borne by hills,
or maybe your body
had been a maquette for the hills.


    Mask Series


1.
The hills and I would exchange qualities.
(In my need.)
Which frank, which masked?
If I were over there by the boats?


2. If I were over there by the boats?
(displaced ... `withdrawn' ...)
                            Or drawn to memory by a vague memory
of walking to the front of a crowded room to receive
(a laurel leaf stapled to a postcard) my prize
in the contest of naming a series of natural objects
placed in a box, a closed box: by touch alone,
day after day in camp: `pinecone,' `chestnut,' `burr,'
`?': deep in the blindness of the inside of the box (apart, in a kind of
    listening; the glaring, the dusty
world, displaced ... `withdrawn' ...)?


*


Tethered—by touch—to the level
of form (the fingers, stubbed at form, all attention at the edges)
to recognize—by touch—by a likeness
of form (which is not `to remember'):
where the eyes were looking was for.
Bereshith [in the beginning] ...
God wanted to behold
God ...
and turned to fragments ...
(A card I found at the back of a drawer—the leaf
then dry, yet fragrant.)


3. Which frank, which masked?
facing (as facing hills),
engrossed—


The expression of looking at—beautiful, `available'—
                                                       "Beatrice
gazing upward and I on her ..."
Beatrice in suso, ed io in lei, guardava ...


Passing men,
the woman does more than look down or aside;
she looks away and also changes the shape of her mouth.
Dearest.
The thought of you looking away and fear
rose in me—as shame rises—as into lack.
                                          And trees seemed
hollow, then—all glory, all
attention, drained out—drained
suddenly as though violently
poured—


Rabbi Isaac said,
"The light created by the Blessed Holy One in the act of
    Creation
flared from one end of the world to the other
and was hidden away."
... Rabbi Judah said,
"If it were completely hidden
the world would not exist for even a moment!
Rather it is hidden and sown like a seed
that gives birth to seeds and fruit ...
Since the first day it has never been fully revealed...."


David—having climbed the stairs
to bed, his breathing a little
`pronounced' (recognizably his breath)—David
pulling the fabric of the nightdress down
over the curve of my thigh (he loves)
and stroking the soft flannel.


4. The hills and I would exchange qualities. / (In my need.)
But `assume,' not `exchange': "I would assume /
qualities of the hills.//
Solidity. Glory. Repose (in my need)."
                                       But not
`qualities' — rather,
`attributes' ...


    Sequence (Triptych)


Temporary reflectors were embedded in the new
asphalt. Flimsy in the day. Metallic petals
recalling rose petals they followed — I wondered where to put them—
which floated to my skin and stuck almost skin-colored, "sterling" reblooming
    in hot, wet ...
somehow I am fourteen and panicking. Disorder in the making
and the order of. Florid but actual. Pink-looking. Pink against the actual
skin. Driving, reflectors on the left; envisioning the petals they
    succeeded, somewhat larger in a central
panel; my body as I saw it in the water, in the panel
on the right: if one encountered them together. Petals,
loose in a bowl, long-dried, then I threw them in the bath—an
    afterthought—
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Table of Contents

News of
News Of 5
News Of: Codicils 6
Tether
Tether 11
Positions of the Body VI 12
Mask Series 14
Sequence (Triptych) 18
Asides 19
Conversation 21
On His Therapy 22
Then Three Reflections 23
The Rod 24
Memory 25
For K. 26
Recollection 27
Helpless, behind Her 28
Dear 30
Pool 33
Fermata ("Extended Care") 35
Ophelia's Lament 37
Elegy 38
By the Pond 39
Position Paper
Prone 43
Measure 44
Again this morning 45
Dedication 46
After Sappho 47
I Was Reading about Abulafia's "Permutation of Letters" 48
Three Impromptus 50
Four 52
At the Beach 53
Position Paper 54
Bowl 56
Frame( 61
Tour 62
In Brief 63
For 64
Notes 69
Acknowledgments 73
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