Strange Flesh by William Logan, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Strange Flesh

Strange Flesh

by William Logan
     
 

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A new collection from a poet acclaimed for his immaculate craft and impressive range

William Logan's dark, intense, muscular verse has long unsettled some of the standard agreements of American poetry. His eighth collection finds its home in the elsewhere, in the various small towns and ancient cities where the poet has felt some shimmering presence of the

Overview

A new collection from a poet acclaimed for his immaculate craft and impressive range

William Logan's dark, intense, muscular verse has long unsettled some of the standard agreements of American poetry. His eighth collection finds its home in the elsewhere, in the various small towns and ancient cities where the poet has felt some shimmering presence of the past. Logan uncovers the memory of the Leviathan in the Massachusetts fishing village where he was raised, the coupling of gods in Venice at the millennium, and signs of the Flood in Texas. He explores places familiar and unfamiliar, whether tenting on the plains with General Custer or seeing a horrific vision behind the Blaschkas' famous glass models of the invertebrates. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah followed strange flesh; in the collapsing real-estate market of the past, this master of formality as well as form discovers the sins of the flesh that still haunt us.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Long known for his frequently blistering, sometimes brilliantly written, book reviews, Logan also merits attention for his verse: his shapely, often rhymed stanzas and unrhymed sonnets are crisp, well observed, frequently angry, propelled by his sense of the past. "At eleven, I wanted to own/ the corroded, omnipotent gods," he says of the statues he saw as a child in church; in a tour de force quartet of sonnets on paintings and photographs, "The mists leak cream, clouds filthier than cream,/ dragged like an afterthought from the sky's lead bowl." Logan's range of subjects is larger, his voice more assured, than in other recent volumes. Poems about travels in England and the Netherlands speak fruitfully to the quieter poems on the same subjects published by Logan's partner, Debra Greger. (There is even a finely tuned love poem to her.) Logan may at times sound more like Robert Lowell than like himself, but he often sounds wonderful, poem by poem-and he brings, at his best, a sense of human life, of answers ignored and potential squandered. Logan's acrid wisdom offers a sense that he has seen through the facades we perversely maintain: "Things went back to normal," one poem ends, "or the normal that children have to call normal." (Oct.)

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Library Journal

In the pre-Gutenberg world, we are told that certain rhyme schemes and meters were employed as mnemonic devices to allow troubadours to recite long passages from memory. With its liberal use of closed forms and rhyme, this latest offering from Logan (e.g., The Whispering Gallery) employs many of those same devices. But for all its effort, it creates an unmemorable commonplace, one that disappears as soon as it is read. The frequent use of such well-worn phrases as "arms akimbo" and "cream-white breasts" do little to excite the reader's imagination. Reading this work for the first time, one might hold poetry harmless, think it nothing more than a genteel parlor game in which nothing is wagered and nothing is lost. As the book proceeds, one may be reminded of the Monty Python bit about the cheese shop that sells no cheese, as Logan's book seems to offer us little in exchange for our attention. Readers of Logan's work will likely be disappointed by this latest effort, and most libraries can pass.
—Chris Pusateri

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143114468
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Series:
Poets, Penguin Series
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

William Logan is the author of five collections of poems, a book of criticism, and a book of essays on poets and poetry. He has won the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from The Academy of American Poets and has received the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. He teaches at the University of Florida, where he is alumni professor of English.

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