Strange Flesh

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 ...

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Strange Flesh

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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.

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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.)

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143114468
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Series: Penguin Poets Series
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 1,443,287
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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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Table of Contents

I Homes

The Death of Ovid 3

The Fatal Shore 4

The Ghost 5

The Farm 7

The Tide Pool 8

Mocha Dick 10

The Manger 11

Cedar Key after Storm 12

The Lost Boy 14

Untitled in Four Parts 15

The Tide, 1955 18

Hometown 19

The Prairie 20

Dante's Folly 21

Wrapping Up 22

Zero Hour 24

II Abroads

Argument 27

Crossing Newfoundland 28

Girl with a Pearl Earring 30

The Anatomy Lesson 32

Amsterdam 33

The Blessed Redemption of Delft 34

Salon de The 35

Paris in Winter 36

The Luxembourg Gardens 37

Venice at the Millennium 38

Venice by the Numbers 39

III Elsewheres

Joshua 43

Ballad 44

1923 47

The Blue Laws 49

Song 50

The Beast in the Jungle 51

The Vision 52

Last Chance Saloon 53

Noah 54

Tenting on the Plains 55

IV Englands

Magpie 63

Queen Square 64

Bath 65

The New (Upper) Assembly Rooms 66

Bath in the Margins 67

London through the Glass 68

By the New Waters of Europe 69

The Gathering Storm 71

The Donkey 72

The Age of Treason 73

Floods in Cambridge 75

The Expensive Dress 76

The Jubilee! The Jubilee! 77

Christ Church, Spitalfields 83

The Blaschkas' Invertebrates 84

Dawn Chorus 89

Notes 91

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