Cinder: New and Selected Poems

Susan Stewart. Graywolf, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-55597-763-4
Spanning 35 years and six collections, this generous assemblage showcases Stewart’s accomplished and ongoing exploration of poetry as musical, embodied thinking. Stewart’s work finds continuity across a range of styles and approaches. Whether lush or stripped-down, her poems are grounded in a deep, assured prosody. She uses received forms and experiments with new lyric possibilities while remaining steeped in tradition. And regardless of pace or breadth of topic, Stewart is always dedicated to awakening the sensual qualities of language. Throughout, Stewart’s poems carve a space between knowing and unknowing, inviting the luminous and the obscure in equal measure. In a new poem she writes: “The corners, the edge, of each/ thing exposed:/ you walked into a new transparency.” It is typical of Stewart’s poetics that visibility arrives through a partial shrouding. By leaning far into the uncertain and the unseen, Stewart retrieves moments of clarity. Expression breaks into refrain, echo, an occasional moment of onomatopoeia, even stutters, visual caesuras, and, in a new poem, unsounded symbols: “* blank fog// misting// starless// fog ## and mist// descending// the windlass/ winding static.” If, over the decades represented here, American culture has become increasingly frenetic, Stewart’s work has responded inversely, increasing patience. At her best, Stewart primes readers to listen with the attentiveness from which her poems arise. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 02/07/2017
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-55597-795-5
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-55597-958-4
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