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Reluctant Gravities
     

Reluctant Gravities

by Rosmarie Waldrop
 

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Once again poet and translator Rosmarie Waldrop pushes the boundaries and definitions of poetry, prose, gender, relationship, even language itself in her new volume of prose poem "dialogues," Reluctant Gravities. Intended as a sequel to The Reproduction of Profiles and Lawn of Excluded Middle, Reluctant Gravities gives the rhetorical "you" addressed in those earlier

Overview

Once again poet and translator Rosmarie Waldrop pushes the boundaries and definitions of poetry, prose, gender, relationship, even language itself in her new volume of prose poem "dialogues," Reluctant Gravities. Intended as a sequel to The Reproduction of Profiles and Lawn of Excluded Middle, Reluctant Gravities gives the rhetorical "you" addressed in those earlier volumes a voice and response. "I decided to give the second person equal time," says Waldrop. "But I'm not interested in characters, psychology, or in poetry's traditional 'persona' or mask. The voices do not 'represent,' but frame the synaptic space between them." Some of Waldrop's concerns are formal. She "cultivates cuts, discontinuity, leaps, shifts of reference" in her attempts to compensate for the lack of a margin, where verse would turn toward the white of the page, toward what is not. Her "gap gardening tries to place the margin, the emptiness inside the text." But the point of the dialogues is purely human as the two voices with wit and philosophical playfulness debate aspects of "Aging," "Depression," "Desire," and even "The Millennium."

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.
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
Anne Humpherys
The voice(s) that govern the text unstintingly refuse conclusion...
—Boston Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811214285
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Series:
Paperbook Series
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.30(d)

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