Spar

Spar

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by Karen Volkman
     
 

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Karen Volkman’s award-winning collection Spar has as its central form a highly compressed, musical variant of the prose poem. Volkman develops a new lyric density that marries the immediacy of image-centered poetry to the rhythmic resources of prose. Her first poem begins, “Someone was searching for a Form of Fire,” and this wild urge to seek…  See more details below

Overview

Karen Volkman’s award-winning collection Spar has as its central form a highly compressed, musical variant of the prose poem. Volkman develops a new lyric density that marries the immediacy of image-centered poetry to the rhythmic resources of prose. Her first poem begins, “Someone was searching for a Form of Fire,” and this wild urge to seek form—and thus definition—in the most uncontainable of elements propels the book forward; each poem maps the mind’s evolving positions in response to its variable and perilous encounters. Sometimes the encounter is romantic or purely carnal, a sensual landscape of human relations. At other times, nature itself has an almost humanly emotional connection to the speaker. While very much a living voice, the poems’ speaker is not a consistent self but a mutable figure buffeted by tenderness, terror, irony, or lust into elaborate evasions, exclamations, verbal hijinks, and lyric flights. As its title suggests, Spar embodies both resistance and aspiration, while its epigraphs further emphasize the simultaneous allure and danger of the unknown within the sensual and material worlds and in the mind itself.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
Any collection of poetry to win the Iowa Poetry Prize elicits special attention. Spar, the latest recipient of this prestigious award, well reflects the complexities and diversity of contemporary American poetry. The majority of the work in this book is prose poetry, a demanding genre/form in itself. But both the excitement and challenge of these poems stems from a more primal source, a unique and intricate syntax system sometimes referred to as "language poetry" about which Lucie Brock-Broido contends that the words themselves are more significant than the clarity of narration. Volkman's love of words, her joy in their playful sounds and their independent power, is the overriding feature of this collection. "If it be event, I go forward and not back. I go tower, not floor. I listen but rarely learn, I take into account occasionally, but more often there are lips to kiss, words to pass from tongue to mouth, white entire." These poems force readers to reconsider language, to re-examine its traditional uses. "What is your friend, that you ash and azure for him?" This book is a testament to Volkman's statement, "I believe there is a song that is stranger than wind..." It is an enriching volume, one that offers depth and alternative for already solid collections, one that presents the primitive power of words in an avant-garde atmosphere. "If words are wire and can whip him, this is the scar." Category: Poetry. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Univ. of Iowa Press, 56p., , Barre, MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587294167
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Publication date:
02/05/2002
Series:
Iowa Poetry Prize , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
72
Sales rank:
836,323
File size:
484 KB

Meet the Author

Karen Volkman's first book, Crash's Law, was chosen for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in the Paris Review, New Republic, Colorado Review, American Letters & Commentary, and Fence. She is currently poet-in-residence at the University of Chicago.

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Spar 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago