By Arielle Greenberg
Publication Date: November 1, 2002
ISBN# 9780972348713 (5.5x8.5 88pp, paperback)
“New consciousnesses shine here in delicate, angry, ecstatic, funny, heartbroken play: the forked lightning of true poetry.”—Jean Valentine
Arielle Greenberg's debut collection rises to the occasion, at once bold and tender, experimental and clear.
In Given, Arielle Greenberg makes dazzling explorations into the secrets embedded in language. Greenberg deals with words as strange objects that offer obscure meanings which might explain life, but she is no simple “experimental” writer--rather, she remembers that what poetry does best is produce complex meaning in the never-ending possibilities language affords.
The book represents a dance toward, and away from, pivotal experiences of loss and grim triumph, in the course of which a host of symbols, conventions and themes are invoked, playfully subverted, and resurrected in a form more personal to the author. Dolls accompany murderers on their missions. A tornado demolishes a Dairy Queen and picks up sweetness. Shifting names, shapes “I am this burning building with five creases” and emotional registers, Greenberg’s narrator strives for a universal identification with the poetic tradition, symbols of childhood fractured in the flux of sexual awakening, and, ultimately, her own experiences.
Chad Parmenter, Pleiades
Arielle Greenberg is the author of My Kafka Century (Action Books, 2005) and Given (Verse Press, 2002), along with the chapbooks Shake Her (Dusie Kollektiv, edited and made by Jen Hofer, 2009) and Farther Down: Songs from the Allergy Trials (New Michigan Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in journals including the American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse and American Letters & Commentary, as well as the 2004 and 2005 editions of Best American Poetry and other anthologies. She serves as poetry editor for the journal Black Clock and is one of the founding editors of the journal Court Green, and is the founder and moderator of the poet-moms listserv. She is co-editor, with Rachel Zucker, of the anthology Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (University of Iowa Press, 2008) and, with Lara Glenum, of the poetry anthology Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2010). The recipient of a Saltonstall individual artist's grant and a MacDowell Colony residency, she is an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago and is currently living in Belfast, working on an oral history of the current back–to–the–land movement in Waldo County.
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