Green and Gray

Overview

Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s second collection documents the “remorse of the senses” that attends each moment of experience, the pain and pleasure of not exiting a world in which injustice and distraction secure every sensual event. Attempting to reestablish experience as something other than complicity, these poems insist on “desiring that which is as if it were not,” making poetry out of neighborhood flyers, the Patriot Act, and the poverty of presidential speech. Given this mandate to stay within limited resources, ...

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Overview

Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s second collection documents the “remorse of the senses” that attends each moment of experience, the pain and pleasure of not exiting a world in which injustice and distraction secure every sensual event. Attempting to reestablish experience as something other than complicity, these poems insist on “desiring that which is as if it were not,” making poetry out of neighborhood flyers, the Patriot Act, and the poverty of presidential speech. Given this mandate to stay within limited resources, Green and Gray makes a virtue of refusing to abandon them, often relying on an emphatic recirculation of words and phrases to generate its own system complexities. These are poems whose materials remember their former use: the gray of the city and the green it used to be.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

O'Brien's much-loved debut, The Guns and Flag's Project, introduced a showy, meditative voice with a slippery edge and a certain standoffishness. O'Brien's follow-up tops that book and shows its author firmly at the controls of his poems, most of which are cast in even columns: life as the scrim of language permits us to live it, as "an experience of experience." Words themselves are always positioned in the foreground of these poems—by limiting the vocabulary, repeating words or phrases or by drawing attention to the ways they don't add up—and O'Brien finds in them the measure of our personal and political lives. Whether in a poem composed using words and phrases from the Patriot Act ("there are such warehouses/ the future may be detained among"), a sestina with dauntingly common repeating end words ("where, then, when, there, what, that"), or in flat-out theory ("The world occurs as time enforces it"), O'Brien shows himself to be capable of portraying the muddled traffic of life in the Internet age. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520250192
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2007
  • Series: New California Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 102
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey G. O’Brien is a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of The Guns and Flags Project (UC Press).

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Some Versions of     3
Paraphrase of Aragon     6
Three Seasons     10
The New     12
The Bulletin of Lyon     14
A Difficult Summary     18
In Re Others     19
Logic of Confession     23
Realia     25
Ur     28
Man of Joy     30
Fountain     34
Revaluation of Purple     35
On the Phantom Estate     37
Objects in Portraits     38
To Be out of Sweden and     40
Alieniloquy     42
Amorous Poem     46
Beginnings of Rounds     47
Deer Isle     49
At the Changing Villa     51
A Word with a Poem around It     53
Several Endless Statements     54
Ajar     56
False Neutral     58
A Little Object     60
Spring Struggle     61
How a Cat Returns     63
In Gardens Where Saints Meet     66
Sent Past Exhibits     67
Prior to Assent     70
A Calendar     71
Written on aColumn     73
Mixed Mode     75
They Met Only in the Evenings     76
Wall of Men and Women     79
The Nature of Encounters     81
This Partly Imaginary Tale     83
Hysteron Proteron     85
To Classes     90
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