Meteoric Flowers

Meteoric Flowers

by Elizabeth Willis

Hardcover

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Overview

Elizabeth Willis's new collection is a stunning collision of the pastoral tradition with the politics of the post-industrial age. These poems are allusive and tough. While they celebrate the pleasures of the natural world—mutability, desire, and the flowering of things—they are compounded by a critical awareness of contemporary culture. As we traverse their associative leaps, we discover a linguistic landscape that is part garden, part wilderness, where a poem can perform its own natural history. Divided into four cantos interrupted by lyrics and errata, Meteoric Flowers mirrors the form of Erasmus Darwin's 18th-century scientific pastorals. In attending to poetry's investigative potential, Willis shifts our attention from product to process, from commodity to exchange, from inherited convention to improvisational use.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Clipped and straight along the margins, the prose poem gives the physical impression of a hedge and provides a wonderfully self-contained vehicle for the jumps and turns that power Willis's capricious thread, lending wild assertions a matter-of-fact directness. This is not a sprawling poetry of staggering accumulation. It is a structured, trimmed, wrought coexistence, each poem its own ecosystem building on the concerns and language of the surrounding pieces. ...(L)ike these poems, meteoric flowers are at once fiercely independent yet still responsive, recognizable while new and strange."—Stefania Heim, Boston Review

"Meteoric Flowers, by its own admission, is 'a modern letter sent from antiquity'; taking Erasmus Darwin as its muse, it attempts to write towards the present from the pre-Industrial Revolution past. Still, the book labors under no real delusions about escaping its context; it only moves to the past to better understand the present."—Rain Taxi Magazine

"In light of the variety of worlds provided us in Meteoric Flowers, I think it's safe to say that Willis is an ambitious and - dare I say it? - inspired poet. And let's not forget how gorgeous so many of the lines are throughout the book. I can think of very few poets who would risk writing something like "I don't remember my first brush with pollen, yet I've watched words flower sideways across your mouth." Willis provides us with this and other intoxicating delights. She works onward to position such consistently surprising and mysterious beauties of language within an intellectually-driven framework, one predicated on the exploration of literary, natural, and spiritual histories as they determine our contemporary "reality." I can't wait to see what Willis comes up with next!"—Jacket

"Clipped and straight along the margins, the prose poem gives the physical impression of a hedge and provides a wonderfully self-contained vehicle for the jumps and turns that power Willis's capricious thread, lending wild assertions a matter-of-fact directness. This is not a sprawling poetry of staggering accumulation. It is a structured, trimmed, wrought coexistence, each poem its own ecosystem building on the concerns and language of the surrounding pieces. ...(L)ike these poems, meteoric flowers are at once fiercely independent yet still responsive, recognizable while new and strange."—Stefania Heim, Boston Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819568137
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 03/30/2006
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages: 94
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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