Space, in Chains

Space, in Chains

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by Laura Kasischke
     
 

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"Kasischke's intelligence is most apparent in her syntactic control and pace, the way she gauges just when to make free verse speed up, or stop short, or slow down."—The New York Times Book Review

"Kasischke's poems are powered by a skillful use of imagery and the subtle, ingenious way she turns a phrase."—Austin American-Statesman

Laura

Overview

"Kasischke's intelligence is most apparent in her syntactic control and pace, the way she gauges just when to make free verse speed up, or stop short, or slow down."—The New York Times Book Review

"Kasischke's poems are powered by a skillful use of imagery and the subtle, ingenious way she turns a phrase."—Austin American-Statesman

Laura Kasischke's poems have the same haunting qualities and truth as our most potent memories and dreams. Through ghostly voices, fragmented narratives, overheard conversations, songs, and prayers in language reminiscent of medieval lyrics converted into contemporary idiom, the poems in Space, In Chains create a visceral strangeness true to its own music.

So we found ourselves in an ancient place, the very air around us bound by chains. There was stagnant water in which lightning was reflected, like desperation in a dying eye. Like science. Like a dull rock plummeting through space, tossing off flowers and veils, like a bride. And

also the subway.
Speed under ground.
And the way each body in the room appeared to be a jar of wasps and flies that day—but, enchanted,
like frightened children's laughter.

Laura Kasischke is the author of thirteen books of poetry and fiction. Her novel Her Life Before Her Eyes was adapted for the screen and starred Uma Thurman. A Guggenheim Fellow in 2009, she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Frightening in its confrontations with death—that of a father and, eventually, of everything—Kasischke's new work is also ambitiously exhilarating: everything in life and literature, it seems, could come before her eye, could end up in a poem—"the terror of foxes./ And the children's hospital./ And the hangman's alarm clock," even "Lazarus, who surely never dared/ to lay his head/ on a pillow/ and close his eyes again." Known for her representations of mothers and teenagers in her poems and in her many novels, Kasischke now takes equal interest in illness and old age: rightly celebrated for her irregular, spiky, and intricately rhyming lines, Kasischke has now extended her interest (begun with her last book, Lilies Without) in the prose poem, using its fragments for recollection—"the ridiculous cheerfulness of sunflowers, the drifting immemorial ashes of the blueprints, the soup grown cold." For all its length and all its lists, the volume ends up tightly, almost wrenchingly focused on the omnipresence of suffering, the fact of mortality and the persistence of grief. Some readers might call it melodramatic; many more ought to call it symphonic, perceptive, profound. (Mar.)
Library Journal
The narrators in poet/novelist Kasischke's eighth collection (after Lilies Without) examine a fractured past in a tone both haunting and erotic. Winner of the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award as well as several Pushcart Prizes, Kasischke writes open-formed language poems set in the place where paradox meets mystery. She pursues a stream-of-consciousness style, using rhyme, repetition, and subliminal connections to hook the reader. Often her pieces seem more like paintings than poems; like impressionist works of art, they allow light to shine from various portals, then bring it all together to create a misty composition whose meanings seem to change before the reader's eyes. ("My Son Makes a Gesture My Mother Used To Make" does this extremely well.) VERDICT In the best poems here, memories of childhood and adolescence mingle with religious and philosophical questions as Kasischke deals with subjects both homey and exotic, from sex to smoking cigarettes to questions about the existence of God. What Kasischke says often doesn't matter as much as the hypnotic way she says it. Most readers of contemporary poetry will want to take a look.—Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD
Elizabeth Lund
Kasischke keeps a watchful eye on parents and loved ones, as if she wants to protect their days but can't. Every poem is exquisitely crafted, with crisp, clean lines and imagery that dazzles…
—The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556593338
Publisher:
Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
03/15/2011
Pages:
113
Sales rank:
780,402
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Laura Kasischke: Laura Kasischke’s most recent book of poetry was Lilies Without (Ausable Press, 2007). She has published six other collections of poems, as well as seven novels. She was a Guggenheim Fellow for 2009, and lives in Chelsea, Michigan, where she teaches at the University of Michigan in the MFA program and Residential College.

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Space, in Chains 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago