il cuore - the heart: Selected Poems, 1970-1995 / Edition 1

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il cuore : the heart is a major new collection of poetry by Kathleen Fraser, one of the most significant poets of the last generation and a writer of unusual courage and inventiveness. From the intimacy of early poems to the syntactic play of her much-praised book, when new time folds up (1993), Fraser's work examines fields of possibility, where the visual, theoretical, and lyrical collide. This book provides a generous selection of work both new and old, tracing the development of her poetics over the last three decades. Rich with detail, these poems radicalize intention by embracing error, as in "boundayr," and reassert language innovation as a feminist strategy. They lead us toward "the infinity of a door only slightly ajar" and have established Fraser as one of America's preeminent experimental writers.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Fraser’s work examines fields of possibility where the visual, theoretical, and lyrical collide.”—Carol Muske, New York Times Book Review
Albert Mobilio
The letter A is a plow," writes Kathleen Fraser. "Was A/where/you made and/unmade your mind .../first hesitation/when you doubted/what you/thought you/were/looking for?" Language is a tool, the poet observes, to uncover the world and our own doubts. Abiding, as it has through the 25 years of work on display in IL Cuore: The Heart, this notion has shaped both the imagistic precision of Fraser's poems as well as their disjunctive, fragmentary structure. Borrowing the shapes and shadings of letters, lyric odes and mathematical diagrams, she fashions poems where text plays out across the page, collects into dense pockets and energizes the blank spaces with its powerful flaring. Consider "Tree":

One did hear the flow of nearby branches shear occasional and limp yet this rawness moves, is moving even sudden atrophy of limb

Lavishing a peculiarly angled attention on Italian landscape and art, Fraser, who lives there part of each year, works her way into the fissures between what's seen, what's felt and what's said. In one of Giotto's Arena chapel frescoes, she notes a "salmon length of brick the same/as Virgin's gown, angel feathers/salmon flesh and roe/lifting one swift arc." Her inventively refractory eye divides the scene into shifting visual panels: "motion (less leaves) blue sky/inlaid their branching/lightness/pale rose breadth/of shade/through intervals." This is perception perceived: Fraser's poems interrogate themselves about their own making; her plow slices into the world even as she pulls back to inspect the blade. "The New," she tells us, "comes forward in its edges in order to be itself." -- Salon March 4, 1998

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819522450
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 9/19/1997
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHLEEN FRASER, author of 14 books of poetry, was Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University from 1972 to 1992, Director of the Poetry Center, founder of American Poetry Archives, and editor of the feminist/experimentalist poetry journal HOW(ever). She lives part of each year in Italy.
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Read an Excerpt

the year of grey shadow, the large shape behind it, the year
of breaking thread around the boundayr, the primacy of
embroidered meanings, petal of each pool and mouth, poppies
opening in spite of every border or the yellow diminishing.
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Table of Contents

Seven Uneasy Songs: 1. What I Want 3
Seven Uneasy Songs: 2. To Start 4
Seven Uneasy Songs: 3. Amid Mouths 5
Seven Uneasy Songs: 4. Growing Up 6
Seven Uneasy Songs: 5. Going 7
Seven Uneasy Songs: 6. If 8
Seven Uneasy Songs: 7. That Didn't 9
Little Notes to You, from Lucas Street 10
The History of My Feeling 12
La Baigneuse du Clair au Sombre 15
L'Invention Collective 17
Les Valeurs Personnelles 18
Les Jours Gigantesques 19
La Reproduction Interdite 20
La Revolution 21
Coincidental 23
One of the Chapters 25
Flowers 27
Dear Laura, in December 28
Locations 30
Now That the Subjunctive is Dying 34 year 39
Lily, Lois & Flaubert: the site of loss 42
The decision 44
Lena Pergola 46
Somebody who is hooked on the color red 49
Notes re: Echo 50
Something (even human voices) in the foreground, a lake 57
A definite mountain (the upper with tableaux), foul water 57
They did not make conversation 58
Anna, in lawn chair endeavor 59
Becoming famous and powerful 59
The sun opens and begins to work 60
Anna ("Are you looking at me?"), if not 60
Covertly, her husband('s eyes) 61
Later and tense, looking too big for the body 61
She had a woman friend 62
Careless of all his advice, flowers 62
They travel, heading for "Three Columns," the late demolished 63
Small pyramid, marginal attention 63
"The certainty of Byzantine tendencies," she reads 64
Madonna hypothesis 64
In the "Eugubian Tablets," we turn 65
Stunned, magnificent, cylindrical 66
In white, she who bathed 66
Medusa's hair was snakes. Was thought, split inward 67
boundayr 71
Claim 72
Losing people 73
Bresson Project: "Forget you are making a film" 74
Electric railway, 1922, two women 76
These labdanum hours 78
re:searches 79
Five letters from one window, San Gimignano, May 1981 83
Four voices telling stories about dark and light 88
Etruscan Pages 97
Giotto: ARENA 119
when new time folds up 138
understood and scrupulous 138
a certain uneven panic 139
something gray inside of some other gray 140
never sensing her struggle 141
a violated sorted white 142
wet gray slabs against the original 143
girlfriend's wheelchair, gathering combs 144
to be in normal car murder noise 145
no tablecloths, sitting in his car 146
if brief, my love (my judge) 147
megaphone whose framework holds air 148
less sinister the plot on film, "unveiled" 149
and caught in rescuing the authority of her task 150
a city's constant and hidden remorse 151
1930 155
A Little Background: the Sisters 156
"La La at the Cirque Fernando, Paris" 158
In Commemoration of the Visit of Foreign Commercial Representatives to Japan, 1947 169
Cue or Starting Point 180
WING 184
Notes on Poems 195
Author's Afterword 197
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