Hello, the Roses

Overview

American poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge makes her New Directions debut with this breathtaking new collection

A poet of “epic perception” and “subtle music,” Mei-mei Berssenbrugge opens form into long, shimmering lines of profound emotional intensity and multivalent voices, splintered with space, silence, and desert light. Her new collection of poems, Hello, the Roses, is composed of three parts. The opening poems delve into an array of unities, of myth and landscape, fashion and ...

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Overview

American poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge makes her New Directions debut with this breathtaking new collection

A poet of “epic perception” and “subtle music,” Mei-mei Berssenbrugge opens form into long, shimmering lines of profound emotional intensity and multivalent voices, splintered with space, silence, and desert light. Her new collection of poems, Hello, the Roses, is composed of three parts. The opening poems delve into an array of unities, of myth and landscape, fashion and culture, experience and forgetting, boys and ravens. The central poems explore an invisible world where plants, animals, and the self communicate and coexist. The final part contemplates the individual’s relationship to night, weather, and cosmological time as Berssenbrugge limns a karmic temporal continuum, a mandala of perception. Throughout are the roses, transforming slowly, almost imperceptibly,deepening awareness, creating fields: a rosette of civilization — a wild rose, a Delphic rose, imagined roses, white cabbage roses, an Apache rose, a Bourbon rose, our sacred mortality “saturated with being” in pink petals and gray-green leaves. Hello, the Roses is poetry enraptured with the phenomenal fullness of the world.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Major Jackson
Berssenbrugge's 12th collection raises mere expression to the level of vital hymn, as her discursive poems tackle topics like time, the environment, perception and beingness…Berssenbrugge's lines—saturated with the hallucinatory speed of thought—have the urgency of a manifesto; she consistently calls attention to the interrelatedness of all things…few living poets are as able to enter headlong into the spiritual state of our environment and its endangerment. Ethereal and metaphysical, Hello, the Roses presents one of the best minds in modern poetry.
Publishers Weekly
“How would you find meaning, except by chance?” asks Berssenbrugge. Split into three parts, her new book (her first since 2006’s I Love Artists) consists of multisectioned poems that, like theorems and notes toward theorems, seek to uncover meaning “outside… perceptual range.” Turning to landscape, nature, and even fashion as a starting place for image and idea, Berssenbrugge, who has previously collaborated with visual artists Kiki Smith and Richard Tuttle (her spouse), is concerned with the empty space around a subject as much as the subject itself. “I don’t feel connected to what I experience, and I speak with him about it,” the poem “Pure Immanence” begins. “I try to connect through the outline of an animal, starting with our dog, then turn to black wing against the sky.” The voice throughout consistently values careful, fragmentary rumination over sheer emotionality. “Between any experiences, memories, objects are silent rhythms and intervals,” and the silences between each discrete statement in these poems lend a distinct movement to the book, accruing meaning slowly and through the process of chance observation. “Afterglow casts gold horizontality across water, yellow seaweed, rose sky.// Why does it fill me with happiness, with liberty?” These poems offer a fresh encounter with the otherwise familiar, a place where “style, soul, is power through which matter is formed.” (May)
Library Journal
PEN West Award winner Berssenbrugge opens her latest collection (after Lit Cloud, with artist Kiki Smith) by declaring, "I underestimate the power of my connection with other people, with animals and events that are coincident." Then, in poems each offering pearl-necklace strings of disparate lines, she proceeds to build those connections through close observation, her language stunningly shaded but presented with the force of a philosophical argument.—BH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811220910
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 4/24/2013
  • Pages: 108
  • Sales rank: 558,115
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Massachusetts. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Empathy, Nest, and I Love Artists. A Lit Cloud, her recent collaboration with the artist Kiki Smith, was published by Galerie Lelong in 2012. She lives in New York City and northern New Mexico.
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