Goat Funeral: Poems

( 1 )

Overview

“When Virginia Woolf went to Greece in 1906, she felt that ‘all lumps in the earth here are but so much dust heaped negligently over some well-ordered temple or statue beneath.’ Identical treasure is inherent in the heroic soil for Christopher Bakken; this poet is nurtured by lithic yield: ‘Here I believe in stone, existence in the flesh . . .’ And with all the power of a burial that is yet a parturition, his book reads as a kind of tephromancy, a divination by ashes: ‘Since the earth is god I am not dust but god.’ It is not ‘questions of ...
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Overview

“When Virginia Woolf went to Greece in 1906, she felt that ‘all lumps in the earth here are but so much dust heaped negligently over some well-ordered temple or statue beneath.’ Identical treasure is inherent in the heroic soil for Christopher Bakken; this poet is nurtured by lithic yield: ‘Here I believe in stone, existence in the flesh . . .’ And with all the power of a burial that is yet a parturition, his book reads as a kind of tephromancy, a divination by ashes: ‘Since the earth is god I am not dust but god.’ It is not ‘questions of travel,’ or even the effects of an affinity these luminous poems afford, but a lasting procession. There is no ‘after Greece,’ nothing subsequent: the dust and what is beneath it are present forever in the poet’s mouth.” —Richard Howard
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What People Are Saying

Richard Howard
"This is the best second book of poems I've read in a decade. Of course a certain bloom or glamour (or is it transparency?) is off, but the verse is requited by richer (fallen?) harmonies. Contours are Apollonian as in After Greece, but the poet knows now that vision, like flesh, is fleeting, even fled, and his assurance blurs, the amber clouds; hence "those moments / of clarifying emptiness / toward which we must steer, the swerve from." Clearly Bakken has already embarked, with this subsequent (but not subaltern) inspection of his cherished Hellenic adequacies ("So many islands, so much blessed salt, / this feast we could not finish by ourselves"), on an ardent if sometimes arduous odyssey. In poetry of this order--so luminous, yet so willing to be lost: "each switchback leads us deeper in"--peregrination itself will be a march of triumph. No captives."
Richard Howard
“This is the best second book of poems I’ve read in a decade. Of course a certain bloom or glamour (or is it transparency?) is off, but the verse is requited by richer (fallen?) harmonies. Contours are Apollonian as in After Greece, but the poet knows now that vision, like flesh, is fleeting, even fled, and his assurance blurs, the amber clouds; hence “those moments / of clarifying emptiness / toward which we must steer, the swerve from.” Clearly Bakken has already embarked, with this subsequent (but not subaltern) inspection of his cherished Hellenic adequacies (“So many islands, so much blessed salt, / this feast we could not finish by ourselves”), on an ardent if sometimes arduous odyssey. In poetry of this order—so luminous, yet so willing to be lost: “each switchback leads us deeper in”—peregrination itself will be a march of triumph. No captives.”
Adam Zagajewski
“Christopher Bakken is using all kinds of poetic arms to convey a complex, ambivalent vision spun between the joy of an afternoon in Greece and the dying of a cat. This is an admirable, rich collection of poems.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931357388
  • Publisher: Sheep Meadow Press, The
  • Publication date: 12/31/2006
  • Pages: 75
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRISTOPHER BAKKEN's first book, After Greece, won the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2001. Bakken is also co-translator of The Lions’ Gate: Selected Poems of Titos Patrikios (2006). He received an M.F.A. from the Writing Seminars of Columbia University and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing at University of Houston.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2007

    Richard Howard wrote (from the back of the book)

    This is the best second book of poems I've read in a decade. Of course a certain bloom or glamour (or is it transparency?) is off, but the verse is requited by richer (fallen?) harmonies. Contours are Apollonian as in AFTER GREECE, but the poet knows now that vision, like flesh, is fleeting, even fled, and his assurance blurs, the amber clouds hence 'those moments / of clarifying emptiness / toward which we must steer, then swerve from.' Clearly Bakken has already embarked, with this subsequent (but not subaltern) inspection of his cherished Hellenic adequacies ('So many islands, so much blessed salt, / this feast we could not finish by ourselves'), on an ardent if sometimes arduous odyssey. In poetry of this order¿so luminous, yet so willing to be lost: 'each switchback leads us deeper in'¿peregrination itself will be a march of triumph. No captives.

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