If in Time: Selected Poems, 1975-2000 (Penguin Poets)

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9780140589306: If in Time: Selected Poems, 1975-2000 (Penguin Poets)

Ann Lauterbach is one of America's most inventive and admired poets. Since the mid-1970s, she has explored the ways in which language simultaneously captures and forfeits our experience. By turns elegiac, fierce, and sensuous, her musically-charged poems subvert distinctions between narrative coherence and fragmentary elision, between outward attention and inward response. Throughout, Lauterbach questions the hope for personal agency within proliferating fields of cultural and historical event. If In Time brings together selections from each of her first five collections, as well as an exhilarating group of new poems.

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About the Author:

Ann Lauterbach is Ruth and David Schwab III Professor of Language and Literature at Bard College. Her work has received fellowship support from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur Foundation. She has published six collections of poetry, including If in Time: Selected Poems 1975-2000.

From Publishers Weekly:

The most apt comparison for Lauterbach's career is to that of Jorie Graham: the two MacArthur fellows are near contemporaries; use free verse and open field composition to tackle the philosophical implications of travel, art and relationships from a post-feminist perspective; and are influenced by and in dialogue with John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Susan Howe, Michael Palmer and other poets one often finds, cheek-by-jowl, in Conjunctions. Yet though Lauterbach examines her materials and methods much more closely, her subjects and perspectives are thornier, and she has not garnered major critical attention outside of the academy. This book should change that, as readers gain easier entr?e to her five books and to an eponymous set of 19 new poems, organized counter-chronologically. Beginning at the end of the book with 1979's Many Times, But Then readers will find Lauterbach trying out Schuyler's discursive simplicity and Ashbery's early virtuosity, which form the basis of Before Recollection (1987), and are subsequently stretched out, recombined and brilliantly reimagined for the trio of Penguin books from the '90s: Clamor (1991), And For Example (1994) and On a Stair (1997), the last containing a brutal "Valentine for Tomorrow": "Light in the window (a quotation)/ is how we notice/ discrepancy hello, hello, I forget incendiary fuel/ tearing the roof off the house, rats from dream/ acquiescent cloth draped over the little town's vocabulary." New poems include an intentionally didactic "Diorama of the Uninhabited Yes," definitionally sweeping "New Brooms" and a mock "Splendor" in which "atavistic goons clash/ at the edge of the park" and leave us cheering ourselves on: "Rah! Rah!/ as the struts of tomorrow fall to the ground/ as tears arrive from afar in new boxes." Lauterbach's unsparing investigations blink through the contents of those boxes with remarkable force; fans of Graham, Seidel, Carson and Palmer should take note. (Apr.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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