Nomina

Overview

Karen Volkman’s first book, Crash’s Law, was a National Poetry Series selection, published by W.W. Norton in 1996. Her second book, Spar, received the Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2002 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and The Norton Introduction to Poetry.

From “Brown is the ...

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Overview

Karen Volkman’s first book, Crash’s Law, was a National Poetry Series selection, published by W.W. Norton in 1996. Her second book, Spar, received the Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2002 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and The Norton Introduction to Poetry.

From “Brown is the flat”:

Brown is the flat gestation of a maze,
grass-grown remembrance of a second look the field holds open like a nascent book in which the wind has written, Sudden strays,
sudden numbers beat—the roots of days branched intangibles a stupor took and slept and stroked and scattered in a shook haze of wakenings, refracting rays outleaping their seasons, daughters of a glance ago—ahead, a retrograde advance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“There is no question that these are athletic poems; they open their fullest flower to those with a strong vocabulary…This abstract web of multiple meanings feels, on first reading, extremely reticent, even rarefied. When the words are illuminated against the sonics, however, the poems literally explode…It is extremely fine work, and finely wrought.”
Poetry International #17
Publishers Weekly

In her previous collection, Spar(2002), Volkman stripped away the formal conventions of lineated verse (as well as overtly stated subject matter) to explore what a poem could say in prose, using rhythm, sound and tone as her principal tools of meaning-making. In this third collection, a sequence of 50 untitled, rhymed sonnets, she takes her interrogation of the poem as formal machine a step further, using English poetry's most famous form as her guide. Like her prose poems, these sonnets are concerned with love and some notion of a higher, or other, power, or at least with the capacity of language to bridge the gap between addressor and addressee, seeking "a nascent book/ in which the wind has written." Channeling Emily Dickinson, the poems are at once fierce, ravished, perplexed and perplexing ("If finalfell/.../ would time annul the zero in the laws?"), gesturing toward sense, never quite making it, yet mysteriously giving and withholding enough to keep the reader in their thrall. (Apr.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934414064
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: American Poets Continuum Series
  • Pages: 72
  • Sales rank: 578,445
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Karen Volkman's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, The Norton Introduction to Poetry, and elsewhere. She has taught at NYU, the New School, the 92nd Street Y, University of Alabama, University of Pittsburgh, Columbia College Chicago, and University of Chicago. She currently teaches in the MFA writing program at University of Montana in Missoula.
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Table of Contents

As the dream 9

Brown is the flat 13

Sweetest bleeding 14

The sky we bear 15

Spring's portion 16

Say sad 17

Never got, and never thought 18

Coracle, rime, red ocean 19

Laughing below 20

It's nothing 21

Sleeping sister 22

Name your weapon 23

What are wounds 24

This ellipse, slip between 25

Yet, though 26

The day-slate, erasing 27

What is this witness 28

Nice knuckle 29

The blue blanched figures 30

I asked every flower 31

Gray airs, gray stirs 32

Now you nerve 33

Dull wheel 34

Reticulation of a premise 35

Blank bride of the hour 39

The throat-flute uttering 40

To ruse and fuse 41

Show me the body 42

Red petal digits 43

When ash November 44

I asked every flower 45

One says none 46

Tilt the placeless 47

Lease of my leaving 48

The pearl of interval 49

Sign or cipher 50

Retinal snowfall 51

See the crack at the quick 52

Intoxicant ferment 53

That's what it says 54

The thing you do 55

A premise, a solace 56

She goes, she is 57

The needs that propagate 58

All the things unbluing 59

Bitter seed - scarred semblance - 60

This din and this condition 61

It is not a question 62

Nothing was ever 63

Lifting whither 64

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