Trapeze

Trapeze

by Deborah Digges
     
 

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These lush, rewarding reflections on a woman’s passage into midlife are grounded in our intimacy with nature and mortality. Deborah Digges, now in her fifties, looks back in such poems as “Boat” to see younger mothers and their children, and ponders her own “brilliant, trivial unmooring.” As she wanders from the garden to the barn and…  See more details below

Overview

These lush, rewarding reflections on a woman’s passage into midlife are grounded in our intimacy with nature and mortality. Deborah Digges, now in her fifties, looks back in such poems as “Boat” to see younger mothers and their children, and ponders her own “brilliant, trivial unmooring.” As she wanders from the garden to the barn and into the woods, she finds her moods mirrored in the calendar of the seasons, making lush music of the materials at hand and accepting the seismic changes in her life with an appreciation for the incidental scraps of beauty she chances upon.

Throughout these luminous poems–which touch movingly on the illness and loss of her husband–Digges marvels at the brio with which we fling ourselves daringly into the night:

See how the first dark takes the city in its arms
and carries it into what yesterday we called the future.

O, the dying are such acrobats.
Here you must take a boat from one day to the next,

or clutch the girders of the bridge, hand over hand.
But they are sailing like a pendulum between eternity and evening,

diving, recovering, balancing the air.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Digges's return to poetry after two successful memoirs showcases familiar strengths: supple, sometimes lengthy free verse lines whose fluent and heightened language bolsters familial and elegiac concerns. Much of the volume, indeed, concentrates on elegy: Digges casts herself as inheritor, beekeeper, even a mythological "Greeter of Souls": "Souls who have passed here, tired, brightening.... On which side of the river should I wait?" Digges teaches at Tufts University, outside Boston; though many poems traverse New England landscapes, some stray as far afield as the Arctic Circle or ancient China. Digges keeps one eye out, always, for symbols of loss, considering "the most mortal of all circles,/ mother to child and child to father"; some poems focus on deaths within her family, though others invoke more generally "the aftermath of youth,/ its strange enduring dust," alert to the omnipresent "ghost of what-had-been." Readers of Digges's earlier volumes (especially 1989's Late in the Millennium) may find this fourth volume surprising in its tight focus on the personal, more like Louise Gl ck or Mary Oliver than like Marianne Moore or Amy Clampitt. This scaling back seems a conscious choice, and not a wrong one: those who have come to know Digges through her memoirs, Fugitive Spring (which considered her baby-boomer coming of age) and The Stardust Lounge (about her troubled son) will appreciate the strong emotions her articulate lyric uncovers to reveal. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307548214
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/02/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
72
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

The poet Deborah Digges was born and raised in Missouri.  Her first collection, Vesper Sparrows, won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize from New York University. Late in the Millennium was published in 1989, and Rough Music, which won the Kingsley Tufts Prize, was published in 1995. Trapeze appeared in 2004. Digges also wrote two memoirs, Fugitive Spring (1991) and The Stardust Lounge (2001). The recipient of grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, Digges lived in Massachusetts, where she was a professor of English at Tufts University until her death in 2009.


From the Hardcover edition.

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