Places in Mind: Poems

Places in Mind: Poems

by Catharine Savage Brosman


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“On this familiar planet all is strange,” writes Catharine Savage Brosman, and with that she takes her reader on an eye- and mind-opening journey that starts, cocktail in hand, at the Columns Hotel veranda on New Orleans’ St. Charles Avenue and flies to such memorable and varied sites as the rainy bank of London’s Thames, an English greengrocer’s winter produce bin, an abbey on the Norman plain, an island under palms where “the flames of bougainvillaea and the hibiscus burn magenta,” and across the Utah line. “Remember, though,” the poet warns, “a manual for tourists this is not— / adventures in the mind are what you’ve got.”

And the mind’s eye that refracts these vivid places is unmistakably Brosman’s, richly allusive, deeply meditative, and ranging widely. Travel’s unsettling sensation of being in one place, having just left another, and going somewhere else gives way, Brosman discovers, to the stimulus to savor stillness: “stepping out alone / . . . I am in a green / and golden masterpiece; and all the rest / just falls away.” Both cerebral and sensuous—boulevards by Caillebotte, a platter by Chardin, an old Chilean disk of Neruda declaiming in inimitable voice, unearthly notes from Ravel’s tomb, Brussels sprouts touched with Cézanne blue—Brosman’s poems cause time, thought, and subject to luster and converge.

In language always controlled and precise, Places in Mind offers readers “on this hurtling missile” of modern pace “days of sweet, slow syrup,” “a silken, seamless afternoon.” Whether light ( “an airplane seat in tourist class— / I have before me this: a plastic plate”), heartrending (“those carrying sacks / in the street, wearing cracked shoes and faces”), or seductive (the olive that “plump, savory, and salubrious . . . could wait / no longer to be tasted”), Brosman’s poems delight in their imaginative brilliance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807125472
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Publication date: 04/01/2000
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Catharine Savage Brosman’screative works include four previous poetry volumes, most recently Passages, and in prose, The Shimmering Maya and Other Essays. A native of Colorado and longtime resident of New Orleans, she studied at Rice University and in France to earn her doctorate in French. She is currently professor emerita at Tulane University and honorary research professor at the University of Sheffield in England.

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