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Hummock In The Malookas

Overview

Exploring quirky perspectives on truth, a critically acclaimed collection of poetry explores a landscape of skewed realities in which the impossible becomes familiar. Winner of the 1994 National Poetry Series.A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; winner of the 1994 National Poetry Series. In the singular landscape of Matthew Rohrer's first book of poems, the weather, the food, even the household appliances come to life. "A few pages into this book," says the Minneapolis City Pages, "and you'll start glancing...

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Overview

Exploring quirky perspectives on truth, a critically acclaimed collection of poetry explores a landscape of skewed realities in which the impossible becomes familiar. Winner of the 1994 National Poetry Series.A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year; winner of the 1994 National Poetry Series. In the singular landscape of Matthew Rohrer's first book of poems, the weather, the food, even the household appliances come to life. "A few pages into this book," says the Minneapolis City Pages, "and you'll start glancing sideways at the terrain, which . . . looks suddenly vital." These quirky poems entertain and delicately point to truth. Rohrer illuminates a land of skewed realities where the impossible seems familiar, the sacher torte is afraid to be eaten, and it's always dusk in the forest.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rohrer, a hip young poet whose first collection here has been selected as a 1994 National Poetry Series winner by Mary Oliver, offers a clue to his work by quoting for an epigraph the surrealist painter, Ren Magritte. Rohrer's imagery is intensely visual, as in the opening lines of ``news of the dead pope'': ``Out of a window musical notes float in single file/ past the windbreak of sage-colored trees.'' In Rohrer's landscape, the inanimate is conscious: dust from a snapped rug hangs angrily in the air; a radio weeps. In another poem, a house looks in on its inhabitants, who are making love in the kitchen: ``The refrigerator shudders and tries to shrug them off''; afterwards, a dessert ``...passes out out from the pain of his first bite.'' The humans of Rohrer's world seem sad and ritual-driven; they too are subject to a reality beyond the expected: there are waiters who are ``ashamed to serve anyone,'' people who have ``tender teeth'' and others who find that their hands, having gained wills of their own, molest passing strangers. From this ordered turmoil of whimsy and highlighted limitation emerges our awareness of a talented new poet of leaping imagination who manages to claim a place among the video generation without sacrificing individual vision or the precise use of language. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393315486
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/1991
  • Series: Natural Poetry Series
  • Pages: 76
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Venus Waning/Apollo Waxing His Car 19
The Evening Concert 20
The World just Before the At Ease 21
Inside the Egg Something Is Laughing 23
After the Performance 24
The Bridge 25
A Partial Foreign Policy 26
Cruikshank's Rheumy Eyes 27
Natural Disaster 28
The Girl with the Rock Always in Her Pocket 29
Incensation at the Funeral 30
Hotel de l'Etoile 31
The Painted Couple 32
A Last Look at the Mutineers 33
The Batteries 34
The Empty Locket 35
News of the Dead Pope 37
The Funeral of the Despotic Madman 39
Every Which Way but the Luminous Fork 39
Drama 43
A Wake for the Telephone 45
Conflagration 46
History Lesson 47
To a Croatian Poet 48
How Do You Explain the Matter of Love to a House? 50
Ein Kleine Nacht Mischief 51
Letter to Hoopy 52
Cribbage Rules 53
From a Mosaic Found in the Basilica 54
A Short History of Illumination 56
Rat 57
When I Cut Off My Hand 58
Ah Yes, That Question 59
Longing's Sculpture Garden 60
Map of Lament 61
The Man with the Sooty Wings 62
Letter in April 63
The Toads, 1975 64
The Necklace 65
A Young Person's Guide to the Month of June 66
Quick Sell the Pig 68
Will the Red Hand Throw Me? 69
Found in the Museum of Old Science 71
Mandrake 72
A Hummock in the Malookas 74
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008

    Wonderful, vivid first book of poetry

    Witty, luminous, odd, surprising, heartbreaking - this collection by Matthew Rohrer is one of my all-time favorites. Although the poems may not be quite as richly textured as those in some of his later volumes - Rise Up and the exquisite Satellite, for instance - I find myself returning to it again and again. I think of it sort of like an early Beatles album - yes we all know the later ones are better, but there's something to be said for the sheer exuberance of those early songs, and these early poems.

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