Quarry (Pitt Poetry Series)

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Winner of the 1997 Associated Writing Programs' Award Series in Poetry Selected by Arthur VogelsangJoanna Rawson's poems tend toward the immediate, her shattered narratives describing a landscape that is swollen and overripe, ready to burst. These are violent poems, not in the sense of voyeurism or titillation, but in terms of a society on the brink of coming apart: the detonation of the pastoral, erotic affairs heading for annihilation, transcendence laced with despair and resignation. Winner of the 1997 ...
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Overview

Winner of the 1997 Associated Writing Programs' Award Series in Poetry Selected by Arthur VogelsangJoanna Rawson's poems tend toward the immediate, her shattered narratives describing a landscape that is swollen and overripe, ready to burst. These are violent poems, not in the sense of voyeurism or titillation, but in terms of a society on the brink of coming apart: the detonation of the pastoral, erotic affairs heading for annihilation, transcendence laced with despair and resignation. Winner of the 1997 Associated Writing Programs' Award Series in Poetry Selected by Arthur VogelsangJoanna Rawson's poems tend toward the immediate, her shattered narratives describing a landscape that is swollen and overripe, ready to burst. These are violent poems, not in the sense of voyeurism or titillation, but in terms of a society on the brink of coming apart: the detonation of the pastoral, erotic affairs heading for annihilation, transcendence laced with despair and resignation. Quarry is a story of longing, dissolution, determination, and revival. . . . These poems, these ever-present-tense encounters, are not concerned with the lie of the future, or with shaking the matador's cape of a new poetics, or with re-making events in a bath of nostaligia. The speaker's observations and confessions--in a high energy heightened conversation that ripens line by line over and over--are tough and tender, rapacious and shy, shocking and elegiac. . . .The individuality and power of Rawson's first book come from its blend of existential issues and daily life. It thinks and it sings at the same time. It is for all careful readers as well as poets." --Arthur Vogelsang
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The dense and deliberately run-on poems in this challenging debut volume inspire the title with their slatelike angularity. Rawson adheres to the aesthetic implicit in her poem about Breughel: "Density, meanwhile, sucks the marginal subject/back into the thick " Both the poet and her sometimes confusing personae get lost in a thicket of clotted narrative, which seldom bears a clear time or place. It would be too convenient to ascribe her wild and fervid dreamscapes-full of dying flora, decaying animals, and rotting fruit-to the moment when the "acid kicks in," but plenty of these poems seem etched in sober light. At best, rhythmic with an elemental sensuality, Rawson's intense language recalls the hothouse prose of Cormac McCarthy: poem after poem, set in harsh landscapes, seek "the promised land" along various border areas-some apparently in the West, others in the Mideast."The Border," one of the clearest, set along the Dead Sea, recalls working in Israeli fields beneath mountains holding the threat of Arab suicide bombers. With an integrity of image, Rawson also imagines facing death by renting "a window in a foreign border town," and, elsewhere, she plays an antique organ "during the stranded border of winter."A number of poems recall the sententious litanies of Jorie Graham: Rawson lays on one odd statement after another, building to a beguiling accumulation of strange notions ("What we don't know hurts whatever it likes"). There's also a certain sonic consistency to these poems; but the meanings are tough to figure, and strictly for the initiated. .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822956815
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 6.03 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.28 (d)

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