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Blue hour
Forche, Carolyn.
Adult Nonfiction PS3556.O68 B58 2003

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In addition to winning acclaim for her 1994 collection The Angel of History, Forch has been active as an anthologist (Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness) and translator of Georg Trakl, Claribel Alegria and, most recently, Mahmoud Darwish (Unfortunately, It Was Paradise; Forecasts, Nov. 25), among others. The title of this fourth collection, her first since Angel, translates the French phrase for pre-dawn light into a state of mind that turns everything into a hypnopompic dream or bardic state. Forch's speaker's memories (of childhood, of nursing her son in Paris) are intermingled with ethereal images of 20th century horror, and dosed with a mysticism derived from Heidegger and Buber. This puts her squarely in the territory of visionary abstraction Michael Palmer and Jorie Graham have been mining; like them, Forch is willing to let the contradictions of this technique speak for themselves. "In the Exclusion Zones," for example, is lovely and mysterious in its brevity, but is revealed in the endnotes to refer to the contaminated earth around Chernobyl. The book's tour de force, "On Earth," orders arrhythmic fragments alphabetically over 47 pages in the manner of "gnostic abecedarians," and foregrounds its lyric complications more concretely: "more ominous than any oblivion/ mortar smoke mistaken for an orchard of flowering pears." The poems' success ultimately rests in the reader's tolerance for gestures aimed at sensuality and sensibility in the face of atrocity, though the 10 or so shorter poems that precede "On Earth" are more modest in their ambitions, arousing and sating the longing for beauty with fewer attendant complications. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Deservedly a contender for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Forche's fourth collection is infused with the mystery and melancholy of what the French call "l'heure bleue"; ("blue hour")-the moments after sunset when the sky begins darkening to violet. And just as we all turn reflective at day's end, so Forche crafts elegies on a life lived acutely. (LJ 1/03) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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