Otherwise Unseeable

Overview

Winner of the 2014 Four Lakes Poetry Prize

What if ruin is a good thing? What if each day is built on the ruin of the one before? What if all our attempts to avoid ruin only make us bitter or closed off from what’s around us? What if only by exploring our ruins do we become human?
            The poems in Otherwise Unseeable examine such questions. It is a poetry full of music and surprise,...

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Otherwise Unseeable

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Overview

Winner of the 2014 Four Lakes Poetry Prize

What if ruin is a good thing? What if each day is built on the ruin of the one before? What if all our attempts to avoid ruin only make us bitter or closed off from what’s around us? What if only by exploring our ruins do we become human?
            The poems in Otherwise Unseeable examine such questions. It is a poetry full of music and surprise, in voices that are personal, invented, and historical, sometimes belonging to the poet and sometimes to others. Betsy Sholl probes what there is still to learn from the devastations of the twentieth century, and she explores the roots of human envy, greed, and generosity in lively, unexpected ways, enacting the kinds of arguments we have with ourselves: between control and relinquishment, grief and ecstasy, regret and acceptance, faith and skepticism. The end result is a book of verbal wrestling, a girl-Jacob mixing it up with one kind of angel or another, limping for sure, but still blessed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“For a good four decades now, Betsy Sholl has been producing a poetry of stern self-reflection, risky lyrical fluency, and a deeply empathetic social consciousness. With Otherwise Unseeable, she gives us her finest collection thus far, a book which has refined itself into something I can only call wisdom—sometimes rueful, sometimes fierce. This is work in which, as one poem memorably puts it, we must ‘unlatch our wounds and love our ruins.’”—David Wojahn

Otherwise Unseeable is faithful, as is all Sholl's work, to the contradictions we live with from day to day. These deeply earned, masterful poems take in the full range of human nature, looking unflinchingly at human evil and human suffering, while also acknowledging the ground-note of joy that waits to be heard in our daily lives. Sholl’s poems can be elegiac and mournful; they can riff and fly on the force and spirit of their own language as they chart a path between despair and hope, making seeable what is ‘otherwise unseeable,’ as they give us glimpses of a ‘kingdom’ which is always here and always to come.”—Robert Cording

Library Journal
04/15/2014
"But then I feel happy thinking of you/ the way we invite our love to the table/ to eat what's left." The speaker in Stone's debut collection has tender moments of looking for love, but she's also caustic, insatiable, and slightly dangerous—"I sell my letter to the sentimentalist/ leaving behind a trail of fuck you/ crumbs the largest birds cannot tear." And she's an enthralling character you'll want to know.—BH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299299347
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 3/19/2014
  • Series: Four Lakes Prize in Poetry Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 90
  • Sales rank: 629,632
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Betsy Sholl is the author of seven collections of poetry, including Late Psalm and Don’t Explain, 1997 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. A former poet laureate of Maine, Sholl teaches at the University of Southern Maine and in the MFA Program of Vermont College. She lives in Portland, Maine.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
 
I
Genealogy
Poco a Poco
Rumplestiltskin
Still Life with Light Bulb
The Wind and the Clock
Frog to Princess
The Woodcutter
Wildflowers
Alms
Rush Hour
Atlantic City, Midmorning
Tidal
The Clam Diggers
Rahsaan
Bird Lives
The Argument
 
II
What’s Left of Heaven
Goldfinch
Russian Bells
The Harrowing
Prisoner Bonhoeffer
An Exchange
Latcho Drom
Of the Many
Sacred Heart
Double Portrait
U.S. Clamps Down on Pianos to Cuba
Second Line
Vanishing Act
 
III
Elegy with Morning Glories
Belmullet
Famine
Waiting Room
Wood Shedding
Shrines
At the Window
Bass Flute
Cedar Waxwings
Meenala, County Donegal
Traps and Groove
Out of Nowhere
Election Day
To a Plum
Pears, Unstolen
The Aging Singer
 
Notes 
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