Why Speak?: Poems

Overview

"A smart and powerful debut."?Library Journal
A debut collection, exhibiting exceptional narrative and lyrical gifts, that explores the realms of memory, human emotion, and the natural world.These layered, braided narratives combine images of landscape and nature, childhood memories and family history, evoked paintings and performances. Nathaniel Bellows's verse is intimate yet inviting, dark but hopeful: "I could not saw the fallen tree?not all / of it had fallen?because ...

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Why Speak?: Poems

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Overview

"A smart and powerful debut."—Library Journal
A debut collection, exhibiting exceptional narrative and lyrical gifts, that explores the realms of memory, human emotion, and the natural world.These layered, braided narratives combine images of landscape and nature, childhood memories and family history, evoked paintings and performances. Nathaniel Bellows's verse is intimate yet inviting, dark but hopeful: "I could not saw the fallen tree—not all / of it had fallen—because somehow each spring, / the rotted half still mysteriously bloomed."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It should come as no surprise after reading this debut collection that Bellows is an artist who works in various media, as committed to the visual arts and music as he is to the written word. His poems are intensely visual, and the long, daring lines enjamb with an intricate music. It is the stories, though, that make Bellows's work special. In an age more given to the lyric voice, his poetry is unapologetically narrative, offering richly drawn accounts of moments in time. Even a series of five ekphrases, after illustrations by Howard Pyle, are full of his own people, places, and stories. Numerous other paintings are enlisted for these poems, as are the music of the symphony, memories of childhood piano lessons, and the curious birdsong of the city: "at once their convoy lifted/and I was surrounded, all around me they exploded,/open and closed/like books." A smart and powerful debut; recommended for contemporary American poetry collections.
—Louis McKee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393331387
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Bellows is the author of the novel On This Day. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents


1
Alfalfa Farm     3
Russian Birch     5
The Good Shepherd     6
Removal     8
A Certain Dirge     10
Parts of Speech     11
At the House on the Lake     13
Horticultural     15
In Greater Detail     16
Some Traditions     18
Five Funerals     20
2
Elegy     25
Pangaea     26
Harm's Woods     28
Foaling     29
Plum Island     31
Quarry     32
Seldom Seen     24
Marked     36
Myopia     37
3
Five Paintings   Howard Pyle     43
"So the treasure was divided" 1905     43
"She drew her bridle, listening-there was no sound" 1905     44
"Then the real fight began" 1908     46
"Her head and shoulders hung over the space without" 1904     48
"He lost his hold and fell, taking me with him " 1909     50
At the Symphony     52
Music Lessons     54
Work     56
In the Museum     58
John Singer Sargent Murals, Boston Public Library     59
On Seeing Fox Hunt by Winslow Homer, After Many Years     61
4
Open Letter Re: The Good Fight     65
An Attempt     67
Vocations     69
Every Hour Here     70
On 9th Street     73
Ornithology     75
Edible Flowers     77
Liberty Island     80
Why Speak?     82
Notes     85
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