Thread

Thread

by Michael Palmer
     
 

Thread presents eighty-six new poems by “the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations” (The Poetry Society of America’s 2006 Wallace Stevens Award citation).See more details below

Overview

Thread presents eighty-six new poems by “the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations” (The Poetry Society of America’s 2006 Wallace Stevens Award citation).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Palmer's 21st collection of poems, at first glance, looks like many of his previous books, but he's got some new tricks up his sleeve. Like many poets in later stages of their careers, Palmer is meditating on mortality in these lyrics and sequences, but he's doing it in a style that has evolved increasingly toward an unlikely intersection of mythic imagination and experimental techniques. The book opens with a group of poems addressed to the "Master of Shadows," who often speaks in lines that sound like dark nursery rhymes: "My head is a cracked and pitted bell/ or only the crack within the bell// and I've lost my reflection/ down the town well." Other sequences—Palmer uses groups of poems with the same title to establish and then vary themes over several fugue-like pages—are reminiscent of fables and, at times, the poems of Wallace Stevens: "There is no more/ a Joao Cabral//that one who wrote/ of lucid spindles." Most surprising are intermittent prose poems that flirt with, then subvert, the most quotidian autobiography: "I have been to countless poetry readings over the years, some I'm certain very good, many of course not. Yet I have no memory of any of them." Finally, the long, closing title sequence strings new lines from lines that seem to come from other sources: "So, Alyosha, maybe it is true./ that we live in perhaps./ Perhaps the earth... perhaps the sky...." Throughout, we see a master surprising himself and his readers with a poetry that feels as old as it does new. (May)
Library Journal
The author of a body of work that spans 40 years and 20 volumes, experimental poetry pioneer Palmer (The Lion Bridge) here presents a new collection. A lifelong collaborator, Palmer has worked with both dancers and painters and has translated literature from the French and Spanish, and these varied experiences are plainly evident in his new book. Palmer's keen ear and deft use of line breaks create tension reminiscent of how a choreographer might conceptualize movement and space in a performance. Although this is a collection of separate pieces, it is populated by several sequences of linked poems, which give the book interconnectedness and momentum while lending a sense of order to Palmer's sometimes complex phrasing. A wide variety of influences, coupled with wry and playful humor, deflate the high seriousness that accompanies so much experimental literature, and this results in an approachable if still challenging work. VERDICT Palmer's work is a perfect bridge for readers of traditional poetry who might like an introduction to more formally and aesthetically innovative work.—Chris Pusateri, Jefferson Cty P.L., Lakewood, CO

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219211
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
05/27/2011
Pages:
104
Sales rank:
740,891
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

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