The Second Blush: Poems [NOOK Book]

Overview

Acclaimed poet Molly Peacock tracks the vicissitudes of midlife marriage in her saucy, vulnerable, philosophical sixth collection.

Demonstrating once again her "luxuriantly sensual imagination" (Washington Post), Molly Peacock celebrates marriage and a two-track life with the man who became her husband. As teenage sweethearts separated by other obligations, they found each other again at midlife. The piquant, sonnet-based poems take as their starting point her husband's survival from a life-threatening disease, ...
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The Second Blush: Poems

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Overview

Acclaimed poet Molly Peacock tracks the vicissitudes of midlife marriage in her saucy, vulnerable, philosophical sixth collection.

Demonstrating once again her "luxuriantly sensual imagination" (Washington Post), Molly Peacock celebrates marriage and a two-track life with the man who became her husband. As teenage sweethearts separated by other obligations, they found each other again at midlife. The piquant, sonnet-based poems take as their starting point her husband's survival from a life-threatening disease, addressing the contradictory ideas of planning for the future along with the urgency to make the present brilliantly alive. Three sections of the book portray moments in the marriage—domestic glimpses—but all the poems revolve around the deeper issue of how we love and how love affects the way we live.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Since the 1980s, Peacock has used her gifts for meter and rhyme to portray, and to praise, her own experience, framing brief encounters, regrets and sexual joys with energy and clarity that suggest poets from Edna St. Vincent Millay to Marilyn Hacker. This sixth collection touches on what she has shared with her husband-their first encounters as teenagers, their years apart before they fell in love as adults, his near-fatal illness and their happy life in Toronto now: "you drop a clue,/ and the land reshapes;/ I pick it up,/ and we pull through,/ so far." This entertaining if occasionally glib volume may seem to some readers a model of how to put one's own life into verse. Yet readers who seek unity in Peacock's sixth collection might look not to its people but to its cats-the feline members in Peacock's household are the subjects of the book's strong sonnets. When one cat dies, the poet considers mortality, family and pathos more generally; when another thrives, "The sound of well-being starting/ and continuing, the full flesh clock, true/ to its pledge-now-were, now-ere-is our purr." (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Written in the afterglow of a second marriage at midlife and a love regained, the poems in Peacock's latest collection (after Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems in 2002) are occasions for remembrance and reassessment as the poet's consciousness moves into new emotional territory ("the land reshapes"). But mature love is not infatuation, and Peacock draws on her well-established skill at constructing concise, gracefully composed lyric poems to present a grounded perspective on the muted joys and known risks of marital domesticity. "Good Fortune" ends with "and the day will begin with something to lose," succinctly conflating the optimist's sense of promise with the pessimist's fear of failure in nine simple words. Peacock's compact philosophical meditations may be triggered by homely tasks such as dish washing, cooking, and gardening, but they transcend their mundane origins with assured eloquence and an almost startling subtlety. "Sometimes form itself makes us content," she writes in a gently punning but discerning line, and these poems are the proof. Recommended for most collections.
—Fred Muratori

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393070002
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/17/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 1,337,227
  • File size: 208 KB

Meet the Author

Molly Peacock is an acclaimed poet, essayist, and creative nonfiction writer. Her latest work of nonfiction is The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72. Her most recent collection of poems is The Second Blush. As President of the Poetry Society of America, Molly Peacock was one of the creators of New York's Poetry in Motion program; co-editing Poetry In Motion: One Hundred Poems from the Subways and Buses. She serves as a Faculty Mentor at the Spalding University Brief Residency MFA Program and is also the Series Editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English.
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Read an Excerpt

Of Night
A city mouse darts from the paws of night.
A body drops from the jaws of night.
A woman denies the laws of night,
awake and trapped in the was of night.
A young man turns in the gauze of night,
unraveling the cause of night:
that days extend their claws at night
to re-enact old wars at night,
though dreams can heal old sores at night
and Spring begins its thaw at night,
while worry bones are gnawed at night.
He sips her through a straw at night.
Verbs whisper in the clause of night.
A finger to her lips
the pause of night.


Marriage
I watch my husband at a party,
a shy boy become a man at ease at last.
Success freshens his face, the boy now free
to pass beneath his expressions
as if slipping under a fence.
I used to slip under a fence
to swim in a stream-fed pond
and laze in the water till shocked
and delighted by a cold spot I swam through.
That's what his face is like,
infused by a source inside him.
I know I have a part in it,
just as I was part of the pond
where I loved to swim.


The Flaw
The best thing about a hand-made pattern
is the flaw.
Sooner or later in a hand-loomed rug,
among the squares and flattened triangles,
a little red nub might soar above a blue field,
or a purple cross might sneak in between
the neat ochre teeth of the border.
The flaw we live by, the wrong color floss,
now wreathes among the uniform strands
and, because it does not match,
makes a red bird fly,
turning blue field into sky.
It is almost, after long silence, a word
spoken aloud, a hand saying throughthe flaw,
I’m alive, discovered by your eye.
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Table of Contents

Of Night 13

The Happy Diary 14

The Silver Arrow 15

Our Xanadu 16

Faraway 17

Good Fortune 18

The Cliffs of Mistake 19

The Cup 20

Ferocity in a Dishpan 22

Picnic 23

Pink Paperclip 24

Confession 25

The Match 31

Blasphemy & Blame 32

In the Winter Dark 33

Small Fry 34

The Blanket 35

The End of the World 36

The Throne 37

Little Scar 38

Girl and Friends View Naked Goddess 41

Drawing for Absolute Beginners 43

Great-Grandmother's Young Ghost 44

Gargoyle 45

Artichoke Heart 46

The Fly 47

Fellini the Cat 48

The Pearl Tear 49

Widow 50

Old Friends 51

Ghost Cat 52

The Rescuer 53

Vision in the Backseat of a Taxi 54

Teacup Manifesto 56

Chance 61

Intuition 62

The Vow 63

A Second Bud 64

Warrior Pose 65

Vita Poetica 66

Our Waking 67

First Blush 68

Purr Riddle 69

Pedicure 70

The Garden Giraffes 72

Our Minor Art 73

Quick Kiss 74

The Silver It Always Is 75

Marriage 76

The Flaw 77

Acknowledgments 79

Notes 81

Thanks 83

About the Author 85

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Reading Group Guide

Popular poet and author of the acclaimed memoir Paradise Piece by Piece, Molly Peacock tracks the vicissitudes of midlife marriage in her saucy, vulnerable, philosophical sixth collection, her first to be published in Canada. These lyrical, playful, moving poems focus on illuminating the territory of relationships, while always revolving around the deeper questions about how we love and how love affects the way we live.

Published in the U.S. by W.W. Norton.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    If you are enchanted by meter and rhyme...

    As a poet who loves meter, I was delighted to find that many poems in Peacock's The Second Blush include meter and rhyme. There are many sonnets that disguise themselves as free verse if you aren't carefully reading. You can tell that Peacock is excited by words and their possibilities, and while reading this collection of poems, I was excited by them as well.

    If you want to see how a modern sonnet is done, get this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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