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The Cradle of the Real Life (Wesleyan Poetry) [Paperback]

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Item Number 93551  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   75
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 28, 2000
Publisher   Wesleyan
ISBN  0819564060  
EAN  9780819564061  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In Jean Valentine's first book, her poems transformed dreams into living experience by means of luminous language that echoed the unconscious mind's revelations. In her later books, she almost reverses this process to show life as veiled and inconclusive, suggestive rather than definitive. The elliptical yet lucid craft of her poems presents experience as only imperfectly graspable. The poems ride lightly on the waves of thought, more textures than statements. Some readers have characterized Valentine as a "deep image" writer, but syntactically her work is more akin to the work of Mandelstam and Paul Celan than to that of Lorca and Neruda.

The Cradle of the Real Life is divided into two sections, the shorter first section dealing with loss and death and the longer second section, entitled "Her Lost Book," which weaves memories with various metaphors for writing, and deals specifically with the "problem" of women's writing. These finely wrought pieces take stark subject matter and make it shimmer; the poems take their shape as much from the absences as from the words, just as life is given meaning by the losses we survive.

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More About Jean Valentine

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jean Valentine: Jean Valentine is the current State Poet of New York. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, including "Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, " which won the National Book Award for Poetry. She has earned many of the country s highest honors for her work, including the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and The Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Prize. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

Jean Valentine currently resides in New York City, in the state of New York. Jean Valentine was born in 1934.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Miraculousness  Apr 29, 2000
More can be learned about the writing and experience of poetry from Jean Valentine's work than from any other poet of her generation, which is one of the most remarkable America has produced. And unlike any poet of her generation she has never published a weak poem--apparently she never writes a poem unless it is to record what Roethke called a genuine upwelling of the unconscious, a wordless perception, or one beyond words; these experiences are expressed with a skill and restraint which approach the miraculous.
Valentine at the height of her powers--  Mar 17, 2000
What's most noticed about Valentine's work is its strangeness. Robert Hass writes, "...every time some shape of...recognition rises up in you as a familiar emotion, the poem veers off..." Adrienne Rich writes, "Looking into a Jean Valentine poem is like looking into a lake." The words of the poems in this book are ghostly--they are representations of the real things--which, like the objects in Plato's cave seem at the corner of our vision, vanish when we turn to look.

The truths of these poems aren't in the words, but in the heart of meaning loosely housed by the words. Valentine gently cloaks each "poem" in these delicate and quiet visions.

Like the best sacred books one could finish the book in a single sitting without any idea of what has "happened" in the poems--or what has happened to oneself upon the reading. Like the best sacred books, this book's value is in suspending our rational thought, our desire for things to match up, whether syntactically or morally--and instead give ourselves over to the magic of the book, to enter its dream-world, the "luminous room" Valentine wrote about in an earlier book.

As in a dream, we surrender our senses. We do not need great courage to do this. Jean Valentine will take care of us.

This book is clearly the book of a poet who has decades of writing and life experience behind her. It is too easy to say the book is "full." In fact, I think it is not that at all. The book empties itself--it exists in a world of half-light, exists in a moment of filling--it is an active book, it thrashes, it breathes, it is alive.


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