The Seventy Prepositions (New California Poetry, Volume 10)
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Carol Snow's award-winning poetry has been admired and celebrated as "work of difficult beauty" (Robert Hass), "ever restless, ever re-framing the frame of reference" (Boston Review), teaching us "how brutally self-transforming a verbal action can be when undertaken in good faith" (Jorie Graham). In this, her third volume, Snow continues to mine the language to its most mysterious depths and to explore the possibilities its meanings and mechanics hold for definition, transformation, and emotional truth. These poems place us before, and in, language--as we stand before, and in, the world.
The Seventy Prepositions comprises three suites of poems. The first, "Vocabulary Sentences," reflects on words and reality by taking as a formal motif the sort of sentences used to test vocabulary skills in elementary school. The poems of the second suite, "Vantage," gather loosely around questions of perspective and perception. The closing suite finds its inspiration in the Japanese dry-landscape gardens known as karesansui, such as the famous rock garden at Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto. Here the poet approaches composition as one faces a "miniature Zen garden," choosing and positioning words rather than stones, formally, precisely, evocatively.
itself not ‘studied’ or ‘affected’—the inadvertant slight upward plying in my lips— civil . . . affected. Not entirely unlike—is it?—rather bearing some resemblance to, conversant with, akin to the “dawning” of (why shameful?) joy on the face of an approached, recognizing lover? 14 VOCABULARY SENTENCES 1. play A hand puppet showed “trying to escape” —wrist, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder:— play. 2. betray —and woke from a reverie of conﬂation, halfmissing now: glib prologue then Dog Boy
VIOLINIST AT THE WINDOW Self-portrait—his (half-rounded) back, for once, blocking our view of the artist’s view—‘violinisting’. . . 35 PICASSO, LES DEMOISELLES D’AVIGNON The artist’s fear of them so that the faces of some of the women came to resemble primitive masks— frightening in their loose resemblance to human faces; striking as the familiar, draped— masks that were faces between (“against . . . , intercesseurs, mediators”: Picasso) —yes, ‘striking.’ 36 VANTAGE Here M. has painted
Adventures in Wonderland (New York: Penguin, 1998), chapter 1. JAZZ/THE LAKE “Standing by my bed,” Sappho, from Sappho: A New Translation, translated by Mary Barnard (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University 98 of California Press, 1958); “LEUR RÔLE,” Henri Matisse, Jazz (New York: Braziller, 1985); “There was the lake,” Chaim Potok, The Book of Lights (New York: Knopf, 1981), chapter 10; “I heard the lake,” Chaim Potok, The Gift of Asher Lev (New York: Knopf, 1990), chapter 7. GALLERY
York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990). BACKSTORY For Kathleen Rendon Hirschfeld. 99 DOOR “Kanzeon,” found in a glossary of Buddhist terms, www.Buddhanet.net, Buddha Dharma Education Association. HARBORED For Brenda Hillman. See “A Geology,” Brenda Hillman, Cascadia (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2001). USES OF ITALICS “News Of: Codicils,” “By the Pond,” and “After Sappho,” Carol Snow, For (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000); “It ran from me,” from
by The Regents of the University of California; © renewed 1986 Mary Barnard. Excerpts reprinted by permission. 110 Filosoﬁa Interstate DESIGNER: Jessica Grunwald COMPOSITOR: G&S Typesetters, Inc. PRINTER AND BINDER: Friesens Corporation TEXT: DISPLAY: