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Old and New Testaments

Overview

The poems of Old & New Testaments explore Lynn Powell's Southern Baptist upbringing and how that history echoes through her adult experiences of sexual love, self-knowledge, loss, and motherhood. Powell's poems chronicle a life "lush with the ordinary," where truths reveal themselves in the "same, sad, immutable text" of a withered face and in a child's rickety letters tilting across the page. When grace answers grief in these poems, it is not with reassurance, but with a ...
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Overview

The poems of Old & New Testaments explore Lynn Powell's Southern Baptist upbringing and how that history echoes through her adult experiences of sexual love, self-knowledge, loss, and motherhood. Powell's poems chronicle a life "lush with the ordinary," where truths reveal themselves in the "same, sad, immutable text" of a withered face and in a child's rickety letters tilting across the page. When grace answers grief in these poems, it is not with reassurance, but with a call to "the narrow path to Love."
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Poems that explore Powell's Southern Baptist upbringing and how that history resonates through her adult experiences of love, loss, and motherhood. Winner of the 1995 Brittingham Prize in Poetry. Paper edition (unseen), $10.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"A radiance and clarity suffuses Lynn Powell's work."
—Carolyn Kizer, Brittingham Prize Citation

"In Lynn Powell's poems we rediscover the meaning of the word 'testament,' for they give us a full testimony of a life, a family, a world. Whether writing of grief, or the Rapture, of a junebug or Aunt Roxy at the age of one hundred, she brings us intense, crafted narratives of self­knowledge, of facts so vivid they are painful, becoming signs and also wonders of life. These are poems of the recovery of spiritual desire. This is an extraordinary book, and an extraordinary new talent."—Robert Morgan

"These direct, loving, sober poems are the change we need from most recent verse. The intensity of the opening poems in Old & New Testaments builds throughout the book until, almost intolerable, it transforms into profound acceptance, the quietness that comes of acknowledging both life and death. These images and rhythms need no persuasiveness beyond themselves, brightening our spirits with the clarity of reality."—A. R. Ammons

"Lynn Powell's Old & New Testaments is a reclaiming of spiritual texts and traditions for a woman's life in the body—a life of childhood physicality, female sexuality, procreation, and nurturing love. Playful, tender, and wise, Powell brings her gospel learning down to earth. We can hail her poems in an old phrase with a new meaning: they are full of grace."—Alicia Ostriker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299149048
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Series: Brittingham Prize in Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 82
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author


Lynn Powell was raised in East Tennessee and educated at Carson-Newman College and Cornell University. She has worked extensively as a writer in the schools for the Tennessee Arts Commission, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and currently, the Ohio Arts Council. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, and other journals. She lives in Oberlin, Ohio.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Author's Note
Nativity 3
Echocardiogram 5
Poem for the Second Born 7
After Bonsignori 9
Raising Jesus 10
Creed 12
Myth 13
Strategy 17
The Calling 18
Descant 20
Vespers 22
In the Garden 24
Balm 25
Do this in Remembrance 26
5103 Beulah Avenue 27
Sword Drill 29
The Saved 31
Manna 32
O What A Cunning Guest is This Same Grief! 33
Faith 34
Self-Knowledge 37
Confession 38
Immersion 39
Complicities 41
Great-Grandmother, 1965 43
Hegemonies 44
Judgments 45
Preparation for an Elegy 47
Jupiter 48
Grace 49
Forasinadamalldie 53
Prodigal 54
Rapture 56
Witness 58
At Ninety-Eight 60
Promised Land 61
Revelation 62
Epochs 63
Versions of an Elegy 64
Epithalamium 66
Beulah 67
Concordance 68
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