Summons: Poems

Overview


In her fourth book of poems, Deborah Tall serves up, as Charles Simic remarks, "a huge feast of words and images." Spare, charged, eloquently complex, her poems distill emotion to its precipitate. In "Cottage by the Beach, Normandy," loneliness is this: A dozen tulips/erect in the centerpiece,/ hold their allotment of empty air. In "Winter Solstice," war yields, A hillside of markers,/a showroom of tombs./The bushes fruited with ice.

Summons is a call to speak out—in the face ...

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Overview


In her fourth book of poems, Deborah Tall serves up, as Charles Simic remarks, "a huge feast of words and images." Spare, charged, eloquently complex, her poems distill emotion to its precipitate. In "Cottage by the Beach, Normandy," loneliness is this: A dozen tulips/erect in the centerpiece,/ hold their allotment of empty air. In "Winter Solstice," war yields, A hillside of markers,/a showroom of tombs./The bushes fruited with ice.

Summons is a call to speak out—in the face of violence, cruelty, and loss—and a summoning up of the forces of nature and humanity that console.

"The art of prosody, of which Deborah Tall is a master, is a jeweler’s art. It is about ascertaining the weight of words, measuring each one of them in turn against silence and time. . . . As we read, line by line, sounds turn into music, words and images grow in meaning. If you believe this is what all poets do anyway, you are wrong. Only the best of them know how to make us reread with increasing pleasure a few lines of poetry."—from the foreword by Charles Simic

Marketing Plans:

o Author tour NYC, Boston, NY State and New England

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Deborah Tall is the author of three previous books of poems (most recently Come Wind, Come Weather from State Street Press) and two books of nonfiction: The Island of the White Cow: Memories of an Irish Island (Atheneum, 1986) and From Where We Stand: Recovering a Sense of Place (Knopf, 1993). Tall is the editor of the Seneca Review and co-editor of the anthology The Poet’s Notebook (Norton, 1995). She has taught writing and literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1982 and lives in Ithaca, New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Reading Tall's poetry, one is reminded of the sparse elegance of an expensive restaurant in which presentation is aesthetically flawless and the food delicious though the portions are small. Many of the poems in Summons are summoning the presence of visions or spirits, as when Tall invokes a dear friend she has lost: "I admit/ I've/ called you down"--down to earth to report on the hereafter. In a poem on the death of her father, she writes of driving home, "Six weeks gone, you/ worry about the weather/ about my getting home safe/ in the blubbering snow--/ `How are you managing, kid?' " Another poem, in memory of poet Joseph Brodsky, ends "The cemetery angels/ welcome you/ without blinking an eye." Tall is caught continually in that space between life and death--in the stunning truths of death's inevitability and the absence of the beloved lives death has taken. Tall, who teaches writing and literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has written three previous books of poetry (From Where We Stand); her fourth is recommended for most poetry collections.--Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781889330501
  • Publisher: Sarabande Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Tall is the editor of the Seneca Review and has taught at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1982. Tall is the author of three previous books of poems (most recently Summons from Sarabande), and two books of nonfiction: The Island of the White Cow and From Where We Stand. She lives in Ithaca, New York.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Dividing of Ways 3
Household 5
Search 6
Remains 9
Spirit 12
Wood Song 14
Rapt 16
Summons 18
The Last Horseman 21
We'll Never Change Our Tune 23
Watch 25
Daybreak 27
Landscape 28
Bog 29
For This Is the Fall of the Year 30
Cottage by the Beach, Normandy 32
The Balloons 33
Whereof Are You Made 35
Children's Beach Museum 39
The Miraculous Mandarin 41
Myrrha 44
Grounded 46
Night Repair Cream 47
Heat 49
Marching Orders 51
Bouquet 52
Winter Field 53
Antenatal 54
Touched 55
Cleaning Smelt 56
Prayer 57
Winter Solstice 58
Final Elsewhere 60
Commitment 62
The Rule of Berries 63
Baptismal 64
Gesture 65
Eternity in Days 67
Constellated 69
Notes 71
The Author 72
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