Leviathan with a Hook: Poemsby Kimberly Johnson
Kimberly Johnson's dazzling first collection is rooted in the land and language she inherits, then claims for her own. Informed throughout by Milton's Paradise Lost, Johnson's poems burst with the flora and fauna of a magnificently imagined landscape, and gain their power from the incomparable language she uses to describe it. This language is itself an organism in her writing, grown from its own seed, its "vowels blooming like necessary globes/with sharp, consonantal edges." Her voice is wholly new and unique; Leviathan with a Hook heralds the arrival of one of the new standard-bearers of American verse.
Author Biography: Kimberly Johnson earned an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Pequod, New England Review, and other publications. Recipient of the Eisner Prize in Poetry, the Merton Prize for Poetry of the Sacred, the Cook Prize, and other honors, she was born in Utah, and lives in northern California.
- Persea Books
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- 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)
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"Leviathan with a Hook" is a book of poems published in 2002. The title comes from the Bible in the book of Job, chapter 41, verse 1 - "Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook?" The book is also divided into three parts; Angling, Seamless Electric Life, and Eastward. Many of Kimberly Johnson's poems have religious references and citations in them. For example, I noticed that she has a poem in each section titled "Pater Noster" (The Lord's Prayer). She also writes about saints, churches and God. The majority of her poems deal with seasons, the changing of seasons, nature, or animal life. She gives such a unique point of view on nature - it was intriguing. She used plants and animals that gave such a distinct feeling to her message. She also described places with beautiful detail. When I read her poem "Below Mt. Nebo" I almost felt as if I was at the bottom of that windswept mountain. Johnson has the ability to present life in a unique and moving way. One of my favorite poems was "Miscarriage Dictionary," which described the unlabeled and soft spoken aspects of miscarriages. I was moved by her ability to bring the reader into that emotional setting and then present a unique idea that taught me something. It is apparent that Johnson knows the definition of words that I've never heard of before. In her book "Leviathan with a Hook" she pushed me to learn and grow with words that I've never experienced. Not only did I grow in vocabulary while enjoying her book, I also grew in understanding. Johnson explored ideas and presented views that I had never experienced before. After reading her book, I will probably see the world a little differently now.