Too Bright to See and Alma

Too Bright to See and Alma

by Linda Gregg, Linda Alma Gregg

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Linda Gregg's first two books - Too Bright to See & Alma - are, at long last, available again-this time in a single volume. In this book, we witness the awakening of one of the finest American poets of her generation.


Linda Gregg's first two books - Too Bright to See & Alma - are, at long last, available again-this time in a single volume. In this book, we witness the awakening of one of the finest American poets of her generation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Too Bright to See is one of the most important first books of poetry to have come out in the last 25 years. Alma, first published in its own volume two years later, has become its necessary companion . . . It's a fine thing to have these two books back in the world, the visible world, bound together, lucid and legible as they are.” —Lucie Brock-Broido

“I consider Linda Gregg one of the best American poets, and I value the neatness of design in her poems, as well as the energy of each line.” —Czeslaw Milosz

“I have loved Linda Gregg's poems since I first read them. They are original in the way that really matters: they speak clearly of their source. They are inseparable from the surprising, unrolling, eventful, pure current of their language, and they convey at once the pain of individual loss, a steady and utterly personal radiance.” —W. S. Merwin

“The blinding intensity of Ms. Gregg's lines stains the reader's psyche the way lightning or heartbreak do.” —Joseph Brodsky

Product Details

Graywolf Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.37(d)

Read an Excerpt

Too Bright to See & Alma

By Linda Gregg

Graywolf Press

Copyright © 2002 Linda Gregg
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-55597-357-4

Chapter One

THE GIRL I CALL ALMA The girl I call Alma who is so white is good, isn't she? Even though she does not speak, you can tell by her distress that she is just like the beach and the sea, isn't she? And she is disappearing, isn't that good? And the white curtains, and the secret smile are just her way with the lies, aren't they? And that we are not alone, ever. And that everything is backwards otherwise. And that inside the no is the yes. Isn't it? Isn't it? And that she is the god who perishes: the food we eat, the body we fuck, the loose net we throw out that gathers her. Fish! Fish! White Sun! Tell me we are one and that it's the others who scare me, not you. AT THE SHORE Naked women are being dragged down the sandstone shelving on their backs, very slowly. With ropes tied to each foot separately so the legs close and spread open as they are moved. When they cry out or shout down at the men sitting in the lifeguard chairs looking at them through the gun sights, the sounds, no matter how angry or foul, curve and billow like a wave: coming to the men on a soft wind caressingly, like sirens singing. SUMMER IN A SMALL TOWN When the men leave me, they leave me in a beautiful place. It is always late summer. When I think of them now, I think of the place. And being happy alone afterwards. This time it's Clinton, New York. I swim in the public pool at six when the other people have gone home. The sky is grey, the air hot. I walk back across the mown lawn loving the smell and the houses so completely it leaves my heart empty. THE WOMAN ON HER KNEES AT THE RIVER She is washing clothes, her body moving forward and back in its two positions. Suppliant giving. She grinds corn with stone on stone the same way and makes the round flat bread. All this in a place filled with the weight of death. Life would stop in this poverty if she got into a boat that moved away by itself full of flowers. NO MORE MARRIAGES Well, there ain't going to be no more marriages. And no goddam honeymoons. Not if I can help it. Not that I don't like men, being in bed with them and all. It's the rest. And that's what happens, isn't it? All those people that get littler together. I want things to happen to me the proper size. The moon and the salmon and me and the fir trees, they're all the same size and they live together. I'm the worse part, but mean no harm. I might scare a deer, but I can walk and breathe as quiet as a person can learn. If I'm not like my grandmother's garden that smelled sweet all over and was warm as a river, I do go up the mountain to see the birds close and look at the moon just come visible, and lie down to look at it with my face open. Guilty or not, though, there won't be no post- cards made up of my life with Delphi on them. Not even if I have to eat alone all these years. They're never going to do that to me.


Excerpted from Too Bright to See & Alma by Linda Gregg Copyright © 2002 by Linda Gregg. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Linda Gregg has received numerous awards for her poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Whiting Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and Atlantic Monthly.

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