Ghost Girl

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Overview

Sly and sophisticated, direct, playful, and profound, Amy Gerstler’s new collection highlights her distinctive poetic style. In thirty-seven poems, using a variety of dramatic voices and visual techniques, she finds meaning in unexpected places, from a tour of a doll hospital to an ad for a CD of Beethoven symphonies to an earthy exploration of toast. Gerstler’s abiding interests—in love and mourning, in science and pseudoscience, in the idea of an afterlife, in seances and magic—are all represented here. ...

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Ghost Girl

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Overview

Sly and sophisticated, direct, playful, and profound, Amy Gerstler’s new collection highlights her distinctive poetic style. In thirty-seven poems, using a variety of dramatic voices and visual techniques, she finds meaning in unexpected places, from a tour of a doll hospital to an ad for a CD of Beethoven symphonies to an earthy exploration of toast. Gerstler’s abiding interests—in love and mourning, in science and pseudoscience, in the idea of an afterlife, in seances and magic—are all represented here. Entertaining and erudite, complex yet accessible, these poems will enhance Gerstler’s reputation as an important contemporary poet.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Everyone gets his or her say in Gerstler's poems, from a philosophical fetus to the oracle of Delphi incarnated as a teenage girl. At their best, these playful, showy monologues offer a musical thrill...—Emily Nussbaum
Publishers Weekly
Amid the grab bag of discursive forms that make up Gerstler's eighth collection, single anecdotes animate several poems, as when a speaker misreads an offer for "Beethoven's Complete Symphonies" as "Beethoven's Complete Sympathies" and indulges in the not-so-surprising riff: "This immortal/ master... has not forgotten those left behind/ to endure gridlock and mind-ache,/ wearily crosshatching the earth's surface/ with our miseries...." Gerstler has a bit of a Billy Collins problem, writing poems that tussle with, but never quite extend, intentionally light premises that conceal serious subjects: domestic life, evolution and chronic stagnation, magic and the supernatural. In "Touring the Doll Hospital," for instance, the speaker asks, "Why so many senseless injuries?" and a few lines later, sighs, "Small soldiers with no Geneva Convention to protect them...." Such jokes tend to sink pieces in which some version of the spirit world is invoked: "Witch Songs" refers to an "invitation/ written in semen and ash-/ can't we just reply in ink?" while, "The Oracle at Delphi, Reincarnated as a Contemporary Adolescent Girl," begins, "I'm high most of the time on hallucinogenic fumes." Often, one doubts the poet's own investment in particular poems. What to make of a long catalogue, "Fuck You Poem #45," which reads like an undergraduate exercise: "Fuck you in slang and conventional English./ Fuck you in lost and neglected lingoes./ Fuck you hungry and sated; faded, pock marked and defaced./ Fuck you with orange rind, fennel and anchovy paste." While the collection's formal heterogeneity is refreshing, too many of the pieces here feel tossed off. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Bitter Angel, Gertsler here displays a wide-ranging curiosity about life and afterlife. What ultimately emerges is a collection of heartfelt and truth-seeking verse that offering a delicate vision and an even more delicate voice: "Darling, do I hear the wining/ of distant violins?/ Let us kneel, for the age/ of fevers is upon us." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142000649
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/30/2004
  • Series: Poets, Penguin Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Gerstler is a writer of fiction, poetry, and journalism whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including the Paris Review and Best American Poetry. Her 1990 book Bitter Angel won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Previous titles from Penguin are Crown of Weeds, 1997, and Nerve Storm, 1993.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    Great read

    This book was very intresting .such a grest buy .

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