Reluctant Gravities

Overview

In her new volume of prose poem "dialogues," Reluctant Gravities, Rosmarie Waldrop pushes the boundaries and definitions of poetry, prose, gender, relationship, even language itself. Intended as a sequel to The Reproduction of Profiles and Laun of Excluded Middle, Rechktant Gravities gives the rhetorical "you" addressed in those earlier volumes a voice and response. Some of Waldrop's concerns are formal. As the author herself says, she "cultivates cuts, discontinuity, leaps, shifts of reference" in an attempt to ...
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Overview

In her new volume of prose poem "dialogues," Reluctant Gravities, Rosmarie Waldrop pushes the boundaries and definitions of poetry, prose, gender, relationship, even language itself. Intended as a sequel to The Reproduction of Profiles and Laun of Excluded Middle, Rechktant Gravities gives the rhetorical "you" addressed in those earlier volumes a voice and response. Some of Waldrop's concerns are formal. As the author herself says, she "cultivates cuts, discontinuity, leaps, shifts of reference" in an attempt to compensate for the lack of margin, where verse would turn toward the white of the page, toward what is not. Instead, her "gap gardening tries to place the margin, the emptiness inside the text." Yet the overriding point of the dialogues is determinedly human as the two voices with wit and philosophical playfulness debate aspects of "Aging", "Depression," "Desire," and even "The Millennium.".
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Editorial Reviews

William Doreski
Waldrop...demonstrates how vital the prose poem can be in the hands of someone who fully understands it.
Harvard Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A wonderful mix of philosophical conversation, erotic questions and astrophysical speculation, the latest volume of genre-blurring prose poetry from Waldrop (Lawn of Excluded Middle) continues the intellective experiment that now spans her 40-odd years and 15 books. "Born as an afterthought," Waldrop states, "I doubt propositions without body heat or shadow." As in Lawn, her jumpy, startling, abstract sentences seek to interrogate ordinary notions of logic, reference, grammar and truth. Where many American poets flee scientific realism for bodily or religious transcendence, Waldrop's work plays intellect off against itself, appealing to chaos theory, non-Euclidian geometry and contemporary cosmology in order to undermine ordinary ideas about language, truth and logic: "the crow does not fly as the crow flies." The book's unusual structure continues the explorations its lines and sentences embody. Each of six sections includes four prose "conversations"; between each section and the next comes an "interlude," consisting of a "song" in short-lined verse, a "meditation" and another song. Waldrop depicts swerving and desire, particle anihilation and creation, braiding phenomenology with physics: "the hawk's plummet smears the gap visible, a scar to be deciphered as force of attraction. Or gravity." Waldrop's difficult quidditities gesture toward the European experimenters she has translated, notably Edmond Jab s. Her new work's mixed genres also recall the William Carlos Williams of Spring and All, as do her remarkable insistences on the physical, material force of words. Her defiantly brilliant speculations, ready for vigorous readers to decipher, retain an attraction all their own.(Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Anne Humpherys
The voice(s) that govern the text unstintingly refuse conclusion...
—Boston Review
Forrest Gander
Reluctant Gravities provokes us to re-imagine loss and possession, what is is--parents, youth, memory -- we lose as we age, and what it is -- language, gender, desire -- that possesses us.
The Providence Sunday Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811214285
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Series: Paperbook Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 13.00 (w) x 20.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: Two Voices 1
Conversation 1 On the Horizontal 9
Conversation 2 On the Vertical 11
Conversation 3 On Vertigo 13
Conversation 4 On Place 15
Interlude: Song 19
Interlude: Meditation on Fact 20
Interlude: Song 22
Conversation 5 On Eden 25
Conversation 6 On Desire 27
Conversation 7 On Thirds 29
Conversation 8 On Betweens 31
Interlude: Song 35
Interlude: Meditation on Certainty 36
Interlude: Song 38
Conversation 9 On Varieties of Oblivion 41
Conversation 10 On Separation 43
Conversation 11 On Depth 45
Conversation 12 On Hieroglyphs 47
Interlude: Song 51
Interlude: Meditation on Understanding 52
Interlude: Song 54
Conversation 13 On Ways of the Body 57
Conversation 14 On Blindman's Buff 59
Conversation 15 On Sharing 61
Conversation 16 On Change 63
Interlude: Song 67
Interlude: Meditation on the Indefinite 68
Interlude: Song 70
Conversation 17 On Lift 73
Conversation 18 On Depression 75
Conversation 19 On Childhood 77
Conversation 20 On Pattern 79
Interlude: Song 83
Interlude: Meditation on Awakening 84
Interlude: Song 86
Conversation 21 On Slowing 89
Conversation 22 On Aging 91
Conversation 23 On Cause 93
Conversation 24 On the Millennium 95
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