3 Sections: Poems
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The winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, now in paperback
First I had three
apocalyptic visions, each more terrible than the last. The graves open, and the sea rises to kill us all.
Then the doorbell rang, and I went downstairs and signed for two packages―
―from "This Morning"
In an array of poetic forms from the rhyming lyric to the philosophical meditation to the prose essay, 3 Sections confronts perplexing divisions of contemporary life―a wayward history, an indeterminate future, and a perpetual longing to out-think time. This is a vital book by one of America's best poets.
became tense, fearful, and morose. Their faces were stripped of conviviality, and then of their stoicism, and on them could now be discerned misgivings about their fate, a consciousness of the bitterness of their lives—nine months a year spent on the high seas, doing harsh, dangerous, physical work six hours on, six hours off, day in and day out, enduring the planet’s worst weather, enduring endless blowing and buffeting. For what? At meals, the first officer would pour a generous shot of Suntory
two packages— one just an envelope, but the other long and bulky, difficult to manage— both for my neighbor Gus. “You’re never not at home,” the FedEx guy said appreciatively. It’s true. I don’t shave, or even wash. I keep the air-conditioners roaring. Though it’s summer, one of the beautiful red-and-conifer-green Bayside Fuel Oil trucks that bed down in the depot by the canal was refreshing the subsurface tanks with black draughts wrung from the rock, blood of the rock sucked up from
house on the hill. She was the milkmaid shy as a fawn. They met in the pasture as the fireflies came on. A teardrop fell from her eye. When they touched, they heard the earth sigh. An emerald glory consumed them both, and they ran away together in the teeth of … I forget what …, mute, ecstatic, terrified, only to wind up here, on a street with Sam, who is sitting on his porch in an unfolded folding chair, and Frank and Louise, and the old lady from Palermo whose name I can never
minus 1, is an impossibility that has its uses. Rereading Remember that family who lived in a boat run aground and capsized by the creamy dunes where the plovers nest? Sea, sun, storm, and firmament kept their minds occupied. David Copperfield came and went, and their sympathy for him was such that they pitied him almost as much as he pitied himself. But their story is not like the easy one where you return to me and lift my scarred eyes to the sun and stroke my withered hand and
three gooseneck lamps, the five halogens she ordered from a catalogue, the fluorescent work light sporadically sizzling. The room burns and glows like a convenience store on an empty highway in the midnight desert. Groping down the aisles to check her inventory, waiting for the marauder to enter and rifle the register, she thinks, This is not a joke. When this is over, I will tell someone a story about it. The People I Know for Rachel Cohen “Your friendship has meaning for me,” the