March Book

( 1 )

Overview


March Book is a wonder and a revelation. A shockingly assured first collection from young poet Jesse Ball, its elegant lines and penetrating voice present a poetic symphony instead of a simple succession of individual, barely-linked poems. Craftsmanship defines this collection; it is full of perfect line-breaks, tenderly selected words, and inventive pairings. Just as impressive is the breadth and ingenuity of its recurring themes, which crescendo as Ball leads us through his ...
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March Book

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Overview


March Book is a wonder and a revelation. A shockingly assured first collection from young poet Jesse Ball, its elegant lines and penetrating voice present a poetic symphony instead of a simple succession of individual, barely-linked poems. Craftsmanship defines this collection; it is full of perfect line-breaks, tenderly selected words, and inventive pairings. Just as impressive is the breadth and ingenuity of its recurring themes, which crescendo as Ball leads us through his fantastic world, quietly opening doors.

In five separate sections we meet beekeepers and parsons, a young woman named Anna in a thin, linen dress and an old scribe transferring the eponymous March Book. We witness a Willy Loman-esque worker who "ran out in the noon street / shirt sleeves rolled, and hurried after / that which might have passed" only to be told that there's nothing between him and "the suddenness of age." While these images achingly inform us of our delicate place in the physical world, others remind us why we still yearn to awake in it every day and "make pillows with the down / of stolen geese," "build / rooms in terms of the hours of the day." Like a patient Virgil, insistent and confident, Ball escorts us through his mind, and we're lucky to follow.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802141224
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/9/2004
  • Series: Grove Press Poetry Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,431,585
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Above a Street 3
Self-Portrait as Brueghel's Beekeepers 5
Inside the Stove 6
After a Death 7
Listing of Possessions, Meanings 8
No. 31, Conflict with a God 9
Diplomacy 11
Cedar Hill 12
Cares 13
A Speech 14
Remarks on the Plausible 15
Naming 16
A Digression 17
The March Book 19
Anna's Song 23
The General 24
An Etching 25
Rules 27
Voice 29
This Also 30
Measures 31
At a Crossing 32
At Dusk 33
Poverty Study 35
Passage 36
St. Stephen's Day 37
Secret History of Jacques Rennard 38
House of the Old Doctor 41
Manuman Notebook 43
Description 55
Further Usages 57
For Once the Libertines Do What's Best for Themselves 58
Interlude: A Wager 59
Parable of the Witness 60
Lester, Burma 61
In Part 62
Untitled 63
Ship's Manifest 65
From a Clearing 66
March Hour 67
Diagram 68
Instructions 70
In Veils 72
A Tale 74
Problems of Warfare 75
The Principal Avenue 76
Prairie Hermitage 77
Several Replies in a Numbered Column 79
Notes 105
Acknowledgments 106
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Extraordinary...

    Jesse Ball's poetry seems to speak with a voice akin to W. H. Auden's -- elegant, consoling, wry, cautious, melancholy, keenly observant of ephemeral beauty; busily sorting through the noisy world for something worthy of praise. Sympathy for the ironic enigmas of existence, so haunting in Auden, may be found again in Mr. Ball's poetry, which is itself wholly new.

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