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Galatea (Salt Modern Poets) [Paperback]

Melanie Challenger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2006 Salt Modern Poets
In Galatea, her first collection, Challenger casts a poet's sensitive eye across the hours of a tumultuous century to create startling poems whose voice - resolute, compassionate, original - both celebrates and mourns the tensions of human nature. Drawing her themes from the Pygmalion myth, Challenger portrays her subjects in trembling poise between action and inaction, consummation and defeat.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Salt Publishing (1 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844712907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844712908
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 612,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

I have not seen poetry of the eminence of Galatea brought forth by anyone so young as Melanie Challenger. The stone heart of Pygmalion’s sculpted Galatea was awakened to life by Aphrodite. Challenger is vitalized both by Apollo and by Aphrodite. ‘Vitalized’ is my understatement: no poetry in English since D.H.Lawrence’s matches Challenger’s controlled exuberance of form, diction, metric, and vision fused by Eros into authentic splendor. She is the Pindar of Eros: sublime, precise, darkly foreboding, perpetually risking loss. Galatea, more long poem than sequence, persuades through its high art which sustains the reader, even as she suffers the pain of all “our arrested affections.” (Harold Bloom)

About the Author

Melanie Challenger’s first collection of poems, Galatea (Salt Publishing: 2006), received the Society of Authors’ Eric Gregory Award and nomination for the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. She is Creative Fellow at the Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity at University College London, and Associate Artist at Cambridge University’s Institute of Astronomy. She lives in the Scottish highlands.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding poetry 14 Nov 2006
By Zoso
Format:Paperback
Quite simply brilliant and original poetry.The cover notes by Harold Bloom and Tobias Hill are spot on in their assessment of and praise for this young poet.High art at its very best.Accomplished,inchoate,precise and constantly challenging,I cannot recommend this exciting debut highly enough.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White--What's in a Name? 25 July 2007
Format:Paperback
What's in a name? The etymology of Melanie is "black or dark-skinned" and Galatea is "she who is milk-white." From these origins we have flesh made word in the text and page before us. Galatea, whether body or statue, casts the same dark shadow. In this case what lies in shadow is not evil, but truth--what Robert Graves must have had in mind by suggesting the myth depicts the overthrow of the matrilineal cult.

Challenger writes:

Strangeness comes to us all at the limits of Eros,
Where tenderness, by the gradual erosion
Of each small act of worship, mercerises the flesh
Of the love-feast, rendering the body revelational.

Like the palindrome, Eros saw I was sore, Romanticism is a vicious cycle that must be broken. You can't eat Hope. Tenderness has left us to chemically treat the body as if each pill were the small act of worship. Mercerise could also render a mercer out the tenderness as in legal tender--money is made of cotton. Mercerising increases the luster and affinity for dye. So what does that teach us about the body? We are born and given a birth certificate with a name on it to be bought and sold as a product--willingly or unwillingly. So what is revelational is not ecstacy, but a spiritual apocalypse in order to identify the body without giving it a name. It is a complete erosion of the self-constructed self and the socially-constructed self. To put it quite simply Challenger reminds us what it is to be human. Easier said than done, and she does it here.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black and White--What's in a name? 27 July 2007
By Sheik Pierre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What's in a name? The etymology of Melanie is "black or dark-skinned" and Galatea is "she who is milk-white." From these origins we have flesh made word in the text and page before us. Galatea, whether body or statue, casts the same dark shadow. In this case what lies in shadow is not evil, but truth--what Robert Graves must have had in mind by suggesting the myth depicts the overthrow of the matrilineal cult.

Challenger writes:

Strangeness comes to us all at the limits of Eros,
Where tenderness, by the gradual erosion
Of each small act of worship, mercerises the flesh
Of the love-feast, rendering the body revelational.

Like the palindrome, Eros saw I was sore, Romanticism is a vicious cycle that must be broken. You can't eat Hope. Tenderness has left us to chemically treat the body as if each pill were the small act of worship. Mercerise could also render a mercer out the tenderness as in legal tender--money is made of cotton. Mercerising increases the luster and affinity for dye. So what does that teach us about the body? We are born and given a birth certificate with a name on it to be bought and sold as a product--willingly or unwillingly. So what is revelational is not ecstacy, but a spiritual apocalypse in order to identify the body without giving it a name. It is a complete erosion of the self-constructed self and the socially-constructed self. To put it quite simply Challenger reminds us what it is to be human. Easier said than done, and she does it here.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I had hoped for 12 July 2013
By Karen Douglass - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The poetry is much too fragmented for my taste. Given Challenger's prose, which I had read, I expected a more coherent set of poems.
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