Nerve Storm by Amy Gerstler | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Nerve Storm

Nerve Storm

by Amy Gerstler
     
 

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Nerve Storm is easily as fine a collection of poems as Gerstler's last collection, the award-winning Bitter Angel. Her images are surprising and evocative; for example, in her poem "A Hypochondriac's Account of Herself," she writes, "I have a pain in my lower back the exact size and shape of a butterfly"; and her poem "Petition" begins, "That

Overview


Nerve Storm is easily as fine a collection of poems as Gerstler's last collection, the award-winning Bitter Angel. Her images are surprising and evocative; for example, in her poem "A Hypochondriac's Account of Herself," she writes, "I have a pain in my lower back the exact size and shape of a butterfly"; and her poem "Petition" begins, "That slightly curdled ration of morning milk, handed to you in a dented tin cup: that was me." In another poem she writes a letter to "the rage management supervisor." Harper's magazine will run her poem, "Modern Madonnas" in their April 1993 issue.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first collection since Bitter Angel , which won the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award, Gerstler continues her intense, and often savage, pursuit of redemption through suffering. At times pain is caused by illness (scarlet fever, tuberculosis), at times by man's inhumanity to man (the Holocaust; bodies are recovered from an unspecified explosion). Past and present blur as one speaker is followed through various reincarnations in a single poem. A cow lazily chewing grass insists that ``Prior to this promotion/ I was the town drunk.'' Her best poems are relentless, soul-searching, surreal and wonderfully inexplicable. But less than half this volume displays vintage Gerstler. At their weakest, her poems are formulaic and contrived, as when she catalogues matriarchal saints for modern times (``Our lady of organ transplants./ Our lady of the power lunch''). A five-page poem about insect collecting (possibly a ``found'' poem lifted from various manuals) is pointless. Most damaging is her ability to trivialize the same themes she presents so potently elsewhere, as when the speaker of one poem gives instructions on survival to a potentially homeless person. Whether a poem is sympathizing or mocking, the meter and the poet's distanced gaze remain the same, frequently leaving readers uncertain of the poet's intentions. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In an almost prosy rhythm, Gerstler spins tales of modern life where milk curdles, toxic gases blow, and good men are hard to find. Gerstler, a 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award winner for Bitter Angel (North Point Pr., 1990), writes poems about death, disease, finding a mate, and hypochondria, as well as the more whimsical ``The Mermaid's Purse,'' which ends with a question: ``how can the oceans/ swallow so much color/ and remain so terrifically blue?'' Gerstler succeeds best when her metaphors surprise: In ``Rest Cure'' she compares kissing to ``a bee drowned/ in a cup of tea.'' Humor and a wry self-knowledge surface often, particularly in ``Dear Rage Management Supervisor'' and ``Daughter of Eve.'' Still, the poems that remain with the reader aren't the clever ones but those where the emotion runs deep, particularly ``The Stretcher-Bearers,'' where the poet compares a field of boys' corpses to a string of pearls become unstrung. What one longs for is more music. For large collections of contemporary poetry.-- Doris Lynch, Oakland P.L., Cal.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101173978
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/01/1993
Series:
Penguin Poets
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
File size:
296 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Amy Gerstler is a writer of fiction, poetry, and journalism whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including the Paris Review and Best American Poetry. Her 1990 book Bitter Angel won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Previous titles from Penguin are Crown of Weeds, 1997, and Nerve Storm, 1993.

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