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Lost Horse Press New Poets Series: New Poets, Short Books, Volume V: 5 [Paperback]

Valentine Freeman , Robert Peake , Jensea Storie , Marvin Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

28 Feb 2011 Lost Horse Press New Poets Series. New Poets, Short Books
. . . Our country is being attacked from without and within. Ideologues have taken the place of thinkers and judges, democracy has been distorted by TV politics, and the socalled American Dream is fast disappearing as health, safety and privacy become increasingly the luxuries of the wealthy. As always, the soul of a nation survives in the interstices of political and economic events. It survives, preeminently, in the arts. Art makes life better, even in the harshest of circumstances. In the glut of poetic gymnastics, amusements, hip talk, glittering confessions and conventional commentary, there will yet and always be, I believe, poets who write from inside, for whom poetry is a way of thinking from within emotion, and for whom a poem is about what happens as you write, read or hear it. No village explainer can tell you why this matters or persuade you to love it. I have cared for my students, and for these New Poets, more than they know. But they had to do the work themselves for it to matter. As I said, check back in ten years. Maybe twenty. Marvin Bell, 10 November 2010

Product details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Lost Horse Press; 1 edition (28 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984451080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984451081
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,696,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Three fascinating little volumes in one here. Valentine Freeman is succinctly and powerfully super-realistic but at the same time poetically on track about our dissolving in Big Time. Very effective: "You know: you're in a field like a plant,/not totally unlike an animal:/the fine, refracting comb of light..." ("Circumference," p.10). A strong sense fo family, friends, herself...caught in the flux of time. And oddly enough, Robert Peake's work is much the same, a sense of withering time, but never crass or over-obvious, always subtle and Debussyian: "Who knew the river of death would be beautiful? The boatman is not some skeleton in rags, but a man much like your father...it is not until he wraps a chain around the dock...that you realize those white dots of paint, bobbing in the wake, might be the last night sky you will ever see." ("Acheron," p. 45) Powerful precisely because of its larger cultural context and veiled (until the end) message. Jensea Storie's work is also filled with a sense of transience, but much more politically oriented. She's a California, but is filled with a sense of Arab and Mexican reality: "We are just ordinary people/looking for our daily bread/living in a city with crumpled roots/and dead gardens, and listening,/carefully, to the crashing cymbals/of yet another tyranny." ("From a Market Bombed in Baghdad," p. 77). No one here seems "new" in any sense, more like old pros still professionalizing it. --Hugh Fox, Small Press Review

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peake is a first-rate poet 10 Oct 2011
Robert Peake is a first-rate poet whose collection, Human Shade, is a cycle of very tender and very finely crafted poems taken up with a father's difficult and dignified work mourning the loss of his infant son. "Dear imagination of a boy, my round idea," the poet writes in Father-Son Conversation, "you will not know the calluses on my hand./ I will not teach you to wave hello."

The poet's lyricism rises and falls along the tide of personal devastation as it seeks peace and wisdom, passage beyond a torrent of grief. In Jonah, Peake writes, "Although we never met, your/ story is all too understandable,/ since all of us are stowaways, deep/ in the hold, tossed on a storm." This same movement is so beautifully captured in Road Sign On Interstate 5, in which the central image portrays the silhouettes of father, mother, and daughter in flight. Set to warn drivers of immigrants passing into America, it is at first useful to condemn a larger native hypocrisy and xenophobia, for "It is the same type of sign that might contain/ the antlered shape of a generic black buck,/ or tell drivers that the road could be slippery when wet." But soon after, the poet turns inward, "I have never wanted anything this much for myself,/ let alone to pull those closest to me in flight" and finally focuses on the fate of the nuclear family, "The man is pulling the woman is pulling the child,/ who rises as though winged in a blaze of light."

Human strength and human fragility are central to Peake's writing even in a short poem like Radish, which opens with the disarmingly funny lines, "She has let herself go:/ the stringy gray-green mop...soil stains on a faded red leotard/ bulging with crisp, white flesh.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, even, a gasp! 17 Mar 2011
By caroleesherwood - Published on Amazon.com
I read this book when it first came in the mail, and ever since, I keep returning to it. I am especially taken by the section "Human Shade" by Robert Peake. The poems in "Human Shade" strike on a breath-taking tension between harsh and delicate images. The effect is quite devastating and beautiful.

It's quite easy to get so wrapped up in Robert's poems that they evoke physical sensations: teary eyes, shortened breaths. Sometimes, even, a gasp, like the metaphor about pulling the trigger of a gun: "killing/ someone with a gesture as slight and easy/ as curling an index finger into a teacup."

It's an amazing collection in that way. Stunning and vivid.

But my favorite thing about the collection is that it contains not only precise metaphor (both those that come readily and those that make you pause and think) but sprinkled in are also many lines of plain language. The "bottom line lines" are incredibly grounding. Their weight is obvious when they are encountered. Here are some of my favorites:

"To be brutally honest, I loved you." (Father-Son Conversation)

"[The cat] is unimpressed. She only wants to know if
such an act would have brought mice to the altar." (Matins with Slippers and House Cat)

"It comes/ down on me--everything I pushed out of my mind." ("Human Shade")
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best poetry I've read in a while 4 Mar 2011
By Rachelle - Published on Amazon.com
I just read Lost Horses Press New Poets Series. It was amazing. I was so touched by Robert Peake's writing. I think it takes a lot of courage to open the door to private hurts and private joys and share them with the world. Robert does it so well. I appreciated his honesty, his words and his talent.
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