Monday 3 January 2011

Rae Armantrout's Versed, first selection

While Rae Armantrout's reputation in the States is firmly established, she is not well known in the UK, so I'm going to post selections of her latest book, Versed (Wesleyan University Press, 2010), partly in the hope of attracting more readers on this side of the pond. Versed won both the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry last year.

The book is divided in two sections, Versed and Dark Matter. These selections all come from the first section. This is only a small selection of the excellent passages and poems--I had such a difficult time paring back what to share!

Metaphor forms
a crust
beneath which
the crevasse
of each experience.

from "Versed"

Day hoists its mesh
of near

(its bright
skein of pores).

from "Fetch"

Carried by light,
images remain

while sensation
is so evanescent

as to be always beyond

from "Outer"

Time flows
because no set
of proofs

can be complete.

from "Relations"

Songs as empathy
evacuation engines.


Any statement I issue,
if particular enough,

will prove
I was here

from "Locality"

Moment to
moment's stretched

from "Stretch"

of strangers' headlights
tracing the curve at dusk

is inexplicable

the end of "Bonding"

Symbolism as the party face of paranoia.

Chorus of expert voices beyond my door, forever
dissecting my case.

"But the part is sick
of representing the whole."

from "Own"

Rae Armantrout's Versed can be purchased from The Book Depository for a mere £7.24, with free shipping.

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