Veil: New and Selected Poems by Rae Armantrout, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Veil: New and Selected Poems

Veil: New and Selected Poems

by Rae Armantrout
     
 

Rae Armantrout, a core member of the Language writing movement, has long been known for the wit, emotion and punch of her social critique. Veil contains poems from five of Armantrout's previous books as well as a generous selection of new poems. Her work relies tenaciously on the intelligibility of language, her careful syntax bordering on plain speech and

Overview

Rae Armantrout, a core member of the Language writing movement, has long been known for the wit, emotion and punch of her social critique. Veil contains poems from five of Armantrout's previous books as well as a generous selection of new poems. Her work relies tenaciously on the intelligibility of language, her careful syntax bordering on plain speech and meticulously scored lines always questioning how linguistic subjects are formed. Armantrout is interested in questions of origin, and the psychology of perception; she is interested in who is speaking and how we know what we know. Fans will welcome the chance to become reacquainted with her witty and lyric meditations on erotic and family issues, and new readers will be captivated by her poems' immediate availability and freshness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The San Diego-based Armantrout is usually considered the most lyrically oriented of the language poets, eschewing the longer, process-oriented works of the San Francisco wing (now geographically scattered) of her fellow travelers. Her 1998 autobiographical work, True, demonstrated that she could write compelling, if not virtuosic, prose; Wesleyan's selection shows that as with William Carlos Williams, to whom Armantrout owes a debt in the curious torquing of her sentences it is not stylistic pyrotechnics, grandiose theoretical syntheses or encyclopedic references that drives these terrific poems, but an original and quirky turn of mind. Veil includes work from seven previous collections, including The Pretext (which Green Integer is finally issuing whole), and a section of 19 new poems clocking in at 32 pages. Those who haven't discovered the superb poems of Necromance and Made to Seem will find their unsettling vignettes utterly compelling, alert to the vaguest shades of postmodern subjecthood. The Pretext's best poems are resonant coincidings of short bursts of insight, not necessarily aimed at metaphysical revelry (as in, say, Louise Glick's work or in writers of the "ellipticist" tendency) but suggesting an ethical dimension to being: "How do I look?// meaning what/ could I pass for/ when every eye's/ a guard," she writes in "My Associates," and later, "Time's tic:/ to pitch forward/ then catch `itself'/ again.// `We're' bombing Iraq again.// If I turn on the news,/ someone will say, `We / mean business.'" The new poems (including "The Plan," which will be featured in Best American Poetry 2001) continue to avoid "wild/ posturing" for "leafy// prestidigitation" readers won't believetheir eyes. (Oct.) Forecast: Armantrout steadily gained recognition in the '90s as writers and critics of all stripes discovered her work; Veil is sure to be often assigned on campus, while the full-text Pretext will be more confined to fans. The publication of the two books together, especially given Wesleyan's high po-biz profile, should give Armantrout an extra push toward overdue award nominations. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Armantrout is usually considered the most lyrically oriented of the language poets . . . Wesleyan's selection shows that—as with William Carlos Williams, to whom Armantrout owes a debt in the curious torquing of her sentences – it is not stylistic pyrotechnics, grandiose theoretical syntheses or encyclopedic references that drive these terrific poems, but an original and quirky turn of mind." —Publishers Weekly

“This long-awaited collection proves that Armantrout is not a ‘language poet’ and is not confined by expectations of the American avant-garde, among which much of her work has appeared. In brief lines and unexpected weavings, Armantrout addresses history, love, nature, and the darkness of domesticity. This is one of the best books of poetry released in 2001."
Bloomsbury Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819564498
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
10/23/2001
Series:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages:
150
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.73(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


      EXTREMITIES


Going to the Desert
is the old term

"landscape of zeroes"

the glitter of edges
again catches the eye

to approach these swords!

lines across which
beings vanish / flare

the charmed verges of presence


GRACE


    1


a spring there
where his entry must be made

signals him on


    2


the sentence
               flies

isn't turned to salt
no stuttering


    3


    I am walking

    covey in sudden flight


GENERATION


    We know the story.

She turns
back to find her trail
devoured by birds.

The years; the
undergrowth


TONE


    1


Hoping my face shows the pleasure I felt, I'm
smiling languidly. Acting. To put your mind
atrest—how odd! At first we loved because
we startled one another


    2


Not pleased to see the
rubber band, chapstick, tinfoil,
this pen, things
made for our use

But the bouquet you made
of doorknobs, long nails for
their stems sometimes
brings happiness


    3


Is it bourgeois to dwell on nuance? Or effeminate?
Or should we attend to it the way a careful animal
sniffs the wind?


    4


Say the tone of an afternoon

Kindly but sad

"The ark of the ache of it"

12 doorsteps per block


    5


In the suburbs butterflies
still spiral up the breeze
like a drawing of weightlessness.
To enter into this spirit!
But Mama's saying she's alright
"as far as breathing and all that"


    6


When you're late I turn slavish, listen hard for
your footstep. Sound that represents the end of
lack


VIEW


    Not the city lights. We want

    -the moon-

               The Moon
none of our own doing!

DRAFTS 1-38, TOLL

By Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Wesleyan University Press

Copyright © 2001 Rachel Blau DuPlessis. All rights reserved.
TAILER

What People are saying about this

Robert Creeley
“Wit like the proverbial razor, clarity a shimmer of glass, these poems make truth a simple matter, elegant, wistful—forever.”

Meet the Author

RAE ARMANTROUT is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University of California at San Diego, and the author of eight books of poetry, including Up to Speed (2003) and Veil: New and Selected Poems (2001).

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