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The Oldest Map With the Name America: New and Selected Poems

Perillo, Lucia

40 valoraciones por Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375501606 / ISBN 13: 9780375501609
Editorial: Random House Inc, 1999
Condición: Very Good Encuadernación de tapa dura
Librería: Smith Family Bookstore (Eugene, OR, Estados Unidos de America)

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1st edition, 1st printing. flat signed by author on title page. text is unmarked. binding crisp, tight. N° de ref. de la librería 040221

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Detalles bibliográficos

Título: The Oldest Map With the Name America: New ...

Editorial: Random House Inc

Año de publicación: 1999

Encuadernación: Hardcover

Condición del libro:Very Good

Condición de la sobrecubierta: Very Good

Ejemplar firmado: Signed by Author(s)

Edición: 1st Edition

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Lucia Perillo's poetry embodies a sensibility at once personal and national. Many of her poems are candid and affecting--some document how she negotiates life with multiple sclerosis; others concern her working-class Catholic childhood in a small Hudson River town. But in general, and even in these personal works, her poetry picks up the fragments of American culture--Bart Simpson, crimes of violence, Girl Scouting, teen rebellion, redneck survivalists--and assembles them into a highly readable and illuminating cultural commentary. One poem, "Foley," blends the subjects of  movie sound effects and phone sex to make the point that in electronic America things are seldom as they seem--or sound. In "For I Have Taught the Japanese," an ESL instructor confesses, "I was such/an idiot I even tried to apologize more than once/for Nagasaki." In a third, Perillo thumbs through a survivalist magazine to see what it has to offer to her newborn nephew: "They're hawking a T-shirt: I entered the world/fat, mad, and bald, and I plan on leaving that way."  
The texture of Lucia Perillo's writing is conversational, poignant, often mordantly funny. The structure of her work is architectural in its grandeur, dramatic in its impact. Taken together, the poems in The Oldest Map with the Name America present the reader with an important new way of looking at the world--a vision that in its coherence provides us with a deep and original understanding of what we're all about, as individuals and as a culture.


"Someday / you could even write a poem," Lucia Perillo tells her newborn nephew in "The Sportsmen's Guide," then ruefully adds,

the tradition of which
pretty much demands the reader be told off the bat
what a muckheap the world is. But then comes the swerve
where the poet flipflops or digresses
to come up with something that the muckheap
will surprise you with.
This is, in a sense, the distillation of both Perillo's poetic voice--funny, knowing, tough--and her mission: to show the world in all its beauty and terror and strangeness. Is there a better title, anywhere, than "Thinking About Illness After Reading About Tennessee Fainting Goats"? ("Stopped in their tracks / they go down like drunks.... / How cruel, gripes a friend. But maybe they show / us what the body's darker fortunes mean-- / we break, we rise. We do what we're here for.")

For Perillo, transcendence is an ambiguous business. "The Body Rising," for instance, moves from airborne disasters and funeral-home smoke to the miracle of teenage punks handed up from the mosh pit "weightless and waterlogged, bullied and buoyed." But for every body rising, there is another that wants to fall. Perillo's women hitchhike and rock climb; they earn their Girl Scout merit badges in "Dangerous Life." In "Pomegranate" her ambivalent Persephone must choose between, on the one hand, "the underground gods and their motorbikes" and, on the other, "daylight, sure / but also living with her mother." It's the tension between these that makes Perillo's dangerous poetry sing; she's like the narrator of "Kilned," who sculpts with molten lava "to see what this catastrophe is saying." The world may indeed be a muckheap, but these poems never fail to surprise. --Mary Park

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