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Uncommon Prayer: Poems
     

Uncommon Prayer: Poems

by Kimberly Johnson
 

In this stirring third collection, bursting with spoken and unspoken desire, Kimberly Johnson continues her ecstatic intertwining of the liturgical and the rugged landscape of the American West.Uncommon Prayer is a book about desire, and about the ways in which desire can and cannot be expressed, contained, or controlled by language. Invoking the structural

Overview

In this stirring third collection, bursting with spoken and unspoken desire, Kimberly Johnson continues her ecstatic intertwining of the liturgical and the rugged landscape of the American West.Uncommon Prayer is a book about desire, and about the ways in which desire can and cannot be expressed, contained, or controlled by language. Invoking the structural organization of the liturgical hours, the calendar, and the alphabet, Uncommon Prayer explores how external forms might compensate for the incommunicability of human want—that is, how the parts of expression that aren’t found in dictionary definitions might help to make up for what our words never quite manage to express.

Editorial Reviews

The Hudson Review
“The elegant poems of Kimberly Johnson.”
Library Journal
11/01/2014
Is Johnson (A Metaphorical God) trying to inspire readers with her latest poetry collection and its mix of the sacred and the profane? Or is she just trying to elbow her readers with the inside jokes that appear in every poem? Ostensibly exploring human desire, these prose poems contain numerous references to poems, plays, and the Bible. They play heavily with the Old Testament, especially the Book of Psalms, as in "Hotel": "…prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." Another poem alludes to the Book of Isaiah ("spring thrusts its coal into my mouth") and there's a parody of the prayer, Hail Mary ("now in the hour of my whatever.") Readers will also find a sneaky reference to Francis Thompson's "The Hound of Heaven," and a not-so-sneaky reference to Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Pied Beauty." VERDICT Johnson's erudition is evident, and not all of these poems are heavy-handed. But what's the point of this jarring word play? Perhaps the answer lies in the book's epigraph, "Man builds a Cathedral the better to hear him selfe." Well, okay.—C. Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892554478
Publisher:
Persea Books
Publication date:
10/03/2014
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
1,137,735
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.30(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Kimberly Johnsonis a poet, translator, and literary critic. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker and Slate. She is the author of two previous poetry collections, Leviathan with a Hook and A Metaphorical God, and the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the Utah Arts Counsel, and the Mellon Foundation. She is Associate Professor of English at Brigham Young
University.

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