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One and Only Human Galaxy

Overview


Poetry. "Like her great forebear Bertolt Brecht, Elizabeth Swados is a consummate theater artist who is a poet at the core. With her composer's ear, director's intuition, and startling linguistic economy, she reinvents the theater poem for our time, conjuring a lost world and, at its center, a quicksilver Houdini escape artist, Jew, son, lover, celebrity, metaphysician, visionary. Let us welcome Swados the poet! THE ONE AND ONLY HUMAN GALAXY is a triumphant debut"--Honor Moore. Elizabeth Swados has published ...
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Overview


Poetry. "Like her great forebear Bertolt Brecht, Elizabeth Swados is a consummate theater artist who is a poet at the core. With her composer's ear, director's intuition, and startling linguistic economy, she reinvents the theater poem for our time, conjuring a lost world and, at its center, a quicksilver Houdini escape artist, Jew, son, lover, celebrity, metaphysician, visionary. Let us welcome Swados the poet! THE ONE AND ONLY HUMAN GALAXY is a triumphant debut"--Honor Moore. Elizabeth Swados has published fiction, nonfiction, and children's books and received the Ken Award, as well as a New York Public Library Award for her book My Depression. Other awards include five Tony nominations, three Obie Awards, Helen Hayes Award and MANY others. This is her first collection of poetry.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Playwright, director, and nonfiction writer Swados, who won three Obie Awards and received five Tony nominations, veers in a new direction with her first poetry collection. In a tribute to escape artist Houdini, the lines are often simple and direct: "My wife practices a backbend/ outside this cheap room,/ its ripped screen door." But Swados has delved deeply into the psychological core of the performer, "Sleek and naked,/ I will defy the/ pain of human nerves." Sometimes the phrasing is awkward, "I, the artist, hang above you/ from my feet/ fifteen stories up." But Swados examines her subject from many angles: family, relational, cultural, the audience's perspective, and the artist's own. Even Arthur Conan Doyle has a conversation with Houdini in one poem, warning him, "To reach into another world/ requires intimacy with darkness." Some poems are too literal and pedantic, as is the beginning of "Scarves": "Tricks are tricks,/ objective, logical,/ excellent techniques." When Swados pushes dramatic elements, the poems lift off: "I will be a planet called/ Houdinimus and children/ will make wishes on me." VERDICT The narrative story of Houdini is always intriguing, and Swados's poems build on one another to prove the lines "man as an instrument/ of wonder." An interesting first collection.—Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN


—Doris Lynch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934909072
  • Publisher: Hanging Loose Press
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Pages: 133
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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