Calle Florista

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

This World and That One

Sometimes you defy it,
I am not that, watching a stranger
cry like a dog when she thinks she’s alone
at the kitchen window, hands forgotten
under the running tap.
The curtains blow out, flap the other side of the sill.
In you one hole fills another,
stacked like cups.
You remember your hands.

Connie Voisine’s third book of poems centers on the border between the United States and Mexico, celebrating the stunning, severe desert landscape found there. This setting marks the occasion as well for Voisine to explore themes of splitting and friction in both human and political contexts. Whose space is this border, she asks, and what voice can possibly tell the story of this place?

In a wry, elegiac mode, the poems of Calle Florista take us both to the edge of our country and the edge of our faith in art and the world. This is mature work, offering us poems that oscillate between the articulation of complex, private sensibilities and the directness of a poet cracking the private self open—and making it vulnerable to the wider world.
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About the author

Connie Voisine is associate professor of English at New Mexico State University. She is the author of two previous books of poems: Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream, also published by the University of Chicago Press; and Cathedral of the North. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 20, 2015
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Pages
96
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ISBN
9780226295466
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / General
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Content Protection
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The Bird is Her Reason
There are some bodies that emerge
into desire as a god
rises from the sea, emotion and
memory hang like dripping clothes—this
want is like
entering that heated red

on the mouth of a Delacroix lion,
stalwart, always that red
which makes
my teeth ache and my skin feel
a hand that has never touched me,
the tree groaning outside becomes
a man who knocks on my bedroom window,
edge of red on gold fur,
the horse, the wild
flip of its head, the rake of claws
across its back, the unfocussed,
swallowed eye.

Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream is a book haunted by the afterlife of medieval theology and literature yet grounded in distinctly modern quandaries of desire. Connie Voisine’s female speakers reverberate with notes of Marie de France’s tragic heroines, but whereas Marie’s poems are places where women’s longings quickly bloom and die in captivity—in towers and dungeons—Voisine uses narrative to suspend the movement of storytelling. For Voisine, poems are occasions for philosophical wanderings, extended lyrics that revolve around the binding and unbinding of desire, with lonely speakers struggling with the impetus of wanting as well as the necessity of a love affair’s end. With fluency, intelligence, and deeply felt emotional acuity, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream navigates the heady intersection of obsessive love and searing loss.

Praise for Cathedral of the North
“Voisine’s poetry is wholly unsentimental, tactile, and filled with unexpected beauty. She is political in the best sense. . . . A dazzling, brave, and surprising first book.”—Denise Duhamel, Ploughshares
Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry.

To read David Ferry’s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. The passionate nature and originality of Ferry’s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against—and with—his genius for metrical variation. His vocal phrasing thus becomes an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry. Most poets write inside a very narrow range of experience and feeling, whether in free or metered verse. But Ferry’s use of meter tends to enhance the colloquial nature of his writing, while giving him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it’s like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption.

Ferry’s translations, meanwhile, are amazingly acclimated English poems. Once his voice takes hold of them they are as bred in the bone as all his other work. And the translations in this book are vitally related to the original poems around them.

From Bewilderment:

October

The day was hot, and entirely breathless, so
The remarkably quiet remarkably steady leaf fall
Seemed as if it had no cause at all.

The ticking sound of falling leaves was like
The ticking sound of gentle rainfall as
They gently fell on leaves already fallen,

Or as, when as they passed them in their falling,
Now and again it happened that one of them touched
One or another leaf as yet not falling,

Still clinging to the idea of being summer:
As if the leaves that were falling, but not the day,
Had read, and understood, the calendar.

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