Stele

Overview


Poetry. "Cole Swensen's STELE goes forth with an artful, graceful balancing as in a minuet, stopping, bowing and then moving towards new thought. This reading 'presumes a crossing' of empty space in each line. This crossing is a waking dream, linking action with image. The interval grows until it changes how one reads this work. Simple rhythmic constraints of diction and of space construct a fluid but uneven chiasm where one starts to read down and across at once, too eerily different musical scores. ...
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Overview


Poetry. "Cole Swensen's STELE goes forth with an artful, graceful balancing as in a minuet, stopping, bowing and then moving towards new thought. This reading 'presumes a crossing' of empty space in each line. This crossing is a waking dream, linking action with image. The interval grows until it changes how one reads this work. Simple rhythmic constraints of diction and of space construct a fluid but uneven chiasm where one starts to read down and across at once, too eerily different musical scores. Sophisticated, in a refined, unhurried measure, the more STELE gains restraint, the more ardent it becomes."—Norma Cole
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Highly esteemed, always challenging, sometimes austere, Swensen (Gravesend) has a career marked by projects, book-length poems spurred by one—or more—clear formal goals. This brief and elegant collection—one book-length poem that can also be seen as a set of short similar units—sets out to mimic the act of walking, finding in the work of a person in motion a figure for all perception, wisdom, life: “walking is the other and/ and slips we think/ the motion as/ away... you think the way things move/ is their real name.” Though “walking is... the essential/ motion of the human body,” the shadows and outlines of Swensen’s lines keep threatening to stand still or to turn away: this carefully haunting and haunted aspect pervades the book and links it not just to real walkers, not just to the dynamic free verse of Forrest Gander or W.S. Merwin, but also to the history of sculpture: by the time we see “the only body” as “an opening which is... to be inhabited... as only the dead can,” Giacommetti has entered the poem as well. Fans of her most ambitious work may find this project a bit of a falling off, but others—especially those who came to Swensen through the big anthology she co-edited, American Hybrid—may cleave to this slender sequence. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780942996784
  • Publisher: Post-Apollo Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 4.70 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Cole Swensen is a poet and translator of French poetry, prose, and art criticism. She is the founding editor of La Presse and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow. She teaches at Brown University and divides her time between Providence, RI, and Paris.
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