The Cosmic Purr: Poems

Able Muse Press
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Poetry. With a Foreword by Charles Martin. THE COSMIC PURR is the first collection of original poetry from Aaron Poochigian, well-known for his translations of Sappho, Aeschylus, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes. From the mythical to everyday themes, from the landscape of North Dakota to scenes in a bar, at a marriage ceremony, before birth or before death, Poochigian's verse is enlightened by uncommonly fresh wisdom, and deployed in the delightfully masterful, elegant and naturally-flowing metrical forms his translations are known for.

"Aaron Poochigian's technique is masterly, the tone tends to be tart, disillusioned, cryptic, and elegant, and it's easy to be beguiled by these poems' wit and bravura. But the pyrotechnics are used to serious ends, and the scenes that are fitfully illuminated, whether they occur in landscapes as quotidian as contemporary North Dakota or as otherworldly as mythical Greece, whether they are chilling or exhilarating, are always immediate in their reality, and they speak to the reader with a compelling cogency."—Dick Davis

"Aaron Poochigian is both a classicist and a neo-classical poet. By this I mean that he prefers as subjects the common occasions of our lives and articulates them uncommonly, in verse rich with the kind of detail that becomes a style passed on in an act of friendship between him and the poets of the past who have served as his mentors."—Charles Martin

"It is a delight to have some of Aaron Poochigian's modern New York replies to famous Sappho poems. Reading them is like eavesdropping on a New York wise guy discussing the 'night before' with a classical scholar: sexy, witty, learned, and moving. Worth hearing, worth re-reading, too."—Diana Der-Hovanessian

"What is the cosmic purr? Pussycat poet Aaron Poochigian is the one to show us in his ebullient lines. He returns where he started—to the northern plains—then spins on a dime to the wider world 'where life was all night long / drinking and dancing, bursting into song.' In 'The Parlor' he nods ironically to his Armenian heritage, and a few pages later he lights an elegiac candle for a dying friend. A major translator from classical Greek, Poochigian offers in his own poetry a hip formality, a timeless sense of the contemporary, and when he brings the classics into this scene they live again as freshly as ever."—David Mason
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About the author

 Aaron Poochigian was born in 1973. He attended Moorhead State University from 1991 to 1996 where he studied under the poets Tim Murphy, Dave Mason and Alan Sullivan. He entered graduate school for Classics in 1997 at the University of Minnesota. After traveling and doing research in Greece on fellowship from 2003 to 2004, he earned a Ph.D. in Classics in 2006, and now lives and writes in New York City. His translations, with introduction and notes, of Sappho’s poems andfragments were published by Penguin Classics in 2009.

     His translations of Aeschylus, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes appeared in the Norton Anthology of Greek Literature in Translation in the spring of 2009, and Johns Hopkins University Press published his edition of Aratus’ astronomical poem, The Phaenomena, with his introduction and notes, in the spring of 2010. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, includingArion, The Dark Horse, Poetry and Smartish Pace.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Able Muse Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2012
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Pages
60
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ISBN
9780987870520
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Aaron Poochigian’s prizewinning second collection of poetry, Manhattanite, is by turns frenzied and focused. It examines New York’s juxtaposed symbols of towering achievement and monumental desolation, and then traverses the country to California’s Central Valley, where the poet reclaims his grandparents’ home. Poochigian consistently entertains, whether his theme is lamentation or celebration—a grizzled urban pigeon (scavenging for “the sort of faith/ that holds for here and now and vibes like song”) or an Ohio wind turbine (an “ungatherable/ iron flower” seen “juggling . . . / three arms’ worth/ of gale-force wind”). Manhattanite is, deservedly, the winner of the 2016 Able Muse Book Award.

PRAISE FOR MANHATTANITE:

In Manhattanite, Aaron Poochigian takes on the role of American flâneur for the twenty-first century, drifting through the frenetic metropolis at a dreamer’s planetary pace. This collection is a celebration of exuberant melancholy, or melancholy exuberance, slick lyric cum urbane pastoral.
—A. E. Stallings (from the foreword), 2016 Able Muse Book Award judge

Manhattanite gives us the Manhattan of speed chess players in the park, tipsy tipplers tipping off the rooftops, the night sky bright with city light, tenants, tenements and supers. Aaron Poochigian is the poet in New York seeking a holy aura in the song of gunshots and spiral sirens, picking like a grizzled pigeon through stray newspapers, bottles, bags, and candy wrappers for a scrap of religion. Each poem is a tower growing out of our human filth and scraping the sky with sky-lines, and together they build a city of words. Put New York in your pocket. It’s inside this book.
—Tony Barnstone

Reading Aaron Poochigian’s Manhattanite is a dynamic, kinetic experience. These poems travel at a fast clip, pulling you along through cityscapes, wastelands, and other vistas.  Some of the poems tunnel downward, plumbing depths of mood and memory. Whichever way they move, Poochigian’s poems perform with such panache and brio that it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. I’d say do both—and keep reading. But be warned: this isn’t a feel-good book. It’s a fearless book.
—Rachel Hadas

Thoreau once boasted that he had traveled widely in Concord; Aaron Poochigian’s title indicates that he has traveled widely elsewhere—in the one borough worth experiencing, through western deserts, aboard “an ultra-modern train/ lisping through French or German woods,” and in a Paris of naked bulbs and seedy cabarets. In all of these settings, he deftly choreographs his cast of nameless characters. The concluding lines of “Song: Go and Do It” claim, “I’ll still swear/ we could be happy anywhere.” One sure location of that “anywhere” exists between the covers of Manhattanite.
—R. S. Gwynn

 A Vertical Mile from Richard Wakefield is a finalist in the 2011 Able Muse Book Award. Keenly observed themes about people and the land they live in show a profound sense of awe before natural beauty and a love of country life, while recognizing the effect of indifference and inexorable technological advancement. Included are poems about childhood, seasonal changes, mountain climbing, religion and its questions and doubts, life and death, human origins. These poems of stunning artistry show Wakefield in complete command of his craft. This a memorable collection whose insights and pleasures are not to be missed.

PRAISE FOR A VERTICAL MILE:

Deeply rooted in the human history and natural order of his native state, Richard Wakefield’s A Vertical Mile depicts life in rural Washington—people, animals, plants, geological formations, the weather and the seasons. Building on his powerful and impressive first collection East of Early Winters, Wakefield, in A Vertical Mile, has now firmly established himself as one of America’s foremost formal poets. In their memorable presentation by way of deftly employed narrative, meter, rhyme, metaphor, symbol, and diction, the poems in this new collection, once read, cannot be easily dislodged from the mind. That, in itself, is evidence that Wakefield’s best poems are a permanent addition to American letters.
   – David Middleton

Richard Wakefield crafts his verse to exacting standards yet keeps it uncontrived. Throughout A Vertical Mile, Wakefield shows us much about ourselves and the various worlds we inhabit, often of our own making. What he reveals may be sobering or amusing, uplifting or distressing. But, carried by a voice as versatile as the intelligence behind it, it is sure to surprise and delight us as well.
   – David Sanders (from the “Foreword”)

Richard Wakefield writes with a rare metrical skill that calls to mind the poetry of Robert Frost, and like Frost he tells intricate and compelling stories about ordinary people living close to the land. But there’s nothing nostalgic here. There’s compassion, and decency, but never an easy answer. Wakefield’s choice of conventional form is a wry and subtle comment on the contemporary moment, and his mastery of that form raises his work above all the chaos and fads. No, these poems are not nostalgic. They are timeless.
   – Chris Anderson

The arc of discovery is what one traverses in Richard Wakefield’s poetry. It may be a remembered seascape made new by the dust of familial ashes or a lost town, covered by a century of a forest’s reclaiming growth. As a poet of the outdoors—one who sees and, seeing, makes new what he has seen—Wakefield is unsurpassed.
   – R.S. Gwynn

Aaron Poochigian’s prizewinning second collection of poetry, Manhattanite, is by turns frenzied and focused. It examines New York’s juxtaposed symbols of towering achievement and monumental desolation, and then traverses the country to California’s Central Valley, where the poet reclaims his grandparents’ home. Poochigian consistently entertains, whether his theme is lamentation or celebration—a grizzled urban pigeon (scavenging for “the sort of faith/ that holds for here and now and vibes like song”) or an Ohio wind turbine (an “ungatherable/ iron flower” seen “juggling . . . / three arms’ worth/ of gale-force wind”). Manhattanite is, deservedly, the winner of the 2016 Able Muse Book Award.

PRAISE FOR MANHATTANITE:

In Manhattanite, Aaron Poochigian takes on the role of American flâneur for the twenty-first century, drifting through the frenetic metropolis at a dreamer’s planetary pace. This collection is a celebration of exuberant melancholy, or melancholy exuberance, slick lyric cum urbane pastoral.
—A. E. Stallings (from the foreword), 2016 Able Muse Book Award judge

Manhattanite gives us the Manhattan of speed chess players in the park, tipsy tipplers tipping off the rooftops, the night sky bright with city light, tenants, tenements and supers. Aaron Poochigian is the poet in New York seeking a holy aura in the song of gunshots and spiral sirens, picking like a grizzled pigeon through stray newspapers, bottles, bags, and candy wrappers for a scrap of religion. Each poem is a tower growing out of our human filth and scraping the sky with sky-lines, and together they build a city of words. Put New York in your pocket. It’s inside this book.
—Tony Barnstone

Reading Aaron Poochigian’s Manhattanite is a dynamic, kinetic experience. These poems travel at a fast clip, pulling you along through cityscapes, wastelands, and other vistas.  Some of the poems tunnel downward, plumbing depths of mood and memory. Whichever way they move, Poochigian’s poems perform with such panache and brio that it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. I’d say do both—and keep reading. But be warned: this isn’t a feel-good book. It’s a fearless book.
—Rachel Hadas

Thoreau once boasted that he had traveled widely in Concord; Aaron Poochigian’s title indicates that he has traveled widely elsewhere—in the one borough worth experiencing, through western deserts, aboard “an ultra-modern train/ lisping through French or German woods,” and in a Paris of naked bulbs and seedy cabarets. In all of these settings, he deftly choreographs his cast of nameless characters. The concluding lines of “Song: Go and Do It” claim, “I’ll still swear/ we could be happy anywhere.” One sure location of that “anywhere” exists between the covers of Manhattanite.
—R. S. Gwynn

The Cosmic Purr is the first collection of original poetry from Aaron Poochigian, well-known for his translations of Sappho, Aeschylus, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes. From the mythical to everyday themes, from the landscape of North Dakota to scenes in a bar, at a marriage ceremony, before birth or before death, Poochigian’s verse is enlightened by uncommonly fresh wisdom, and deployed in the delightfully masterful, elegant and naturally-flowing metrical forms his translations are known for.

PRAISE FOR THE COSMIC PURR:

Aaron Poochigian’s technique is masterly, the tone tends to be tart, disillusioned, cryptic, and elegant, and it’s easy to be beguiled by these poems’ wit and bravura. But the pyrotechnics are used to serious ends, and the scenes that are fitfully illuminated, whether they occur in landscapes as quotidian as contemporary North Dakota or as otherworldly as mythical Greece, whether they are chilling or exhilarating, are always immediate in their reality, and they speak to the reader with a compelling cogency.
– Dick Davis

Aaron Poochigian is both a classicist and a neo-classical poet. By this I mean that he prefers as subjects the common occasions of our lives and articulates them uncommonly, in verse rich with the kind of detail that becomes a style passed on in an act of friendship between him and the poets of the past who have served as his mentors.
– Charles Martin (from the "Foreword")

It is a delight to have some of Aaron Poochigian’s modern New York replies to famous Sappho poems. Reading them is like eavesdropping on a New York wise guy discussing the “night before” with a classical scholar: sexy, witty, learned, and moving. Worth hearing, worth re-reading, too.
– Diana Der-Hovanessian

What is the cosmic purr? Pussycat poet Aaron Poochigian is the one to show us in his ebullient lines. He returns where he started—to the northern plains—then spins on a dime to the wider world “where life was all night long / drinking and dancing, bursting into song.” In “The Parlor” he nods ironically to his Armenian heritage, and a few pages later he lights an elegiac candle for a dying friend. A major translator from classical Greek, Poochigian offers in his own poetry a hip formality, a timeless sense of the contemporary, and when he brings the classics into this scene they live again as freshly as ever.
– David Mason

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