No Starling: Poems by Nance Van Winckel

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Author
Nance Van Winckel
Publisher
University of Washington Press
Date of release
Pages
67
ISBN
9780295987354
Binding
Hardcover
Illustrations
Format
PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC
Rating
3
65

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No Starling: Poems

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Book review

The new century peeled me bone bare like a song

inside a warbler - that bird, people,

who knows not to go where the sky's

stopped.

Over the years, Nance Van Winckel's extraordinarily precise and energetic voice has built upon its strengths. Unpredictable, wry, always provocative, displaying a sureand startling command of images and ideas, her poems make every gesture of language count. In No Starling, Van Winckel accomplishes what has proven to be so difficult for poets across time: a deeply satisfying balance of the spiritual and political. Although richly peopled with figures from this and parallel worlds - Simone Weil, Verlaine, Nabokov, Eurydice, "the new boys" working in the morgue, and others - No Starling moves beyond a reliance on the dramatic resonance of individual characters. Its vision is deeper, its focus both singular and communal: the self on its journey through the world ("Mouth, mouth: my light / and my exit. Let nothing / block the route"), and our responsibilities as a people for the precarious state of that world.

Slate

My too-sharp lefts kept making the bundle in back

sluice right. I was driving with the dead Nance

in the truck bed. The gas gauge didn't work

so there was an added worry of running

out of juice. Her word. Her word one

windy evening with the carpets

stripped from a floor, which

surprised us as stone - slate

from the quarry we were

headed to now, but Let's first have us

some juice, she'd said, then, barefoot on bare slate.

The truck-bedded Nance, wrapped in her winding sheet,

thuds left, clunks right. I'm sorry about my driving,

sorry about the million lovely pine moths mottled

on my windshield. Thank God, here's the quarry,

and there's the high ledge, where, as a girl long

ago, she'd stepped bravely from the white

towel and stared down. Then she'd held her nose

and leapt out into it - this same cool and radiant air.


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