Elegy: poems

Front Cover
Graywolf Press, 2007 - Poetry - 92 pages
32 Reviews
Mary Jo Bang's fifth collection,Elegy, chronicles the year following the death of her son. By weaving the particulars of her own loss into a tapestry that also contains the elements common to all losses, Bang creates something far larger than a mere lament. Continually in search of an adequate metaphor for the most profound and private grief, the poems inElegyconfront, in stark terms and with a resilient voice, how memory haunts the living and brings the dead back to life. Within these intimate and personal poems is a persistently urgent, and deeply touching, examination of grief itself. Mary Jo Bangis the author of four previous books of poetry, includingLouise in LoveandThe Eye Like a Strange Balloon. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is a Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Washington University. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle AwardMary Jo Bang's fifth collection,Elegy, chronicles the year following the death of her son. By weaving the particulars of her own loss into a tapestry that also contains the elements common to all losses, Bang creates something far larger than a mere lament. Continually in search of an adequate metaphor for the most profound and private grief, the poems inElegyconfront, in stark terms and with a resilient voice, how memory haunts the living and brings the dead back to life. Within these intimate and personal poems is a persistently urgent, and deeply touching, examination of grief itself."The loss of a childespecially an only child who is in the prime of lifeis one of the most painful experiences anyone can have and one, common sense tells us, almost impossible to render in an age of sensory overload. But Mary Jo Bang'sElegyis the grand exception. In its insistence on 'the inexhaustive / Need to be accurate.'Elegyis wholly absorbing. Avoiding all self-pity, false comfort, sentimentality or finger pointing, Bang's terse, oblique poems anatomize grief, guilt, and mourning in pitiless detail. Do things 'improve' by the end of the year whose progress this heartbreaking book charts? Not really, but the reader is transformed. I know of no contemporary elegy that has its power."Marjorie Perloff "The palette is drained; the weather chilled. The tone is formal, the voice even; the feeling is scoured out. This is where time stops, breath stops. Every word stands naked, stands alone, facing a door, an opening. 'Wonderful/Awful.' This is where time stops, breath stops. Words are chosen and framed and hung because they must be, not because they make an unbearable loss one whit more bearable, but they position us a step closer to seeing the beginning (of love) and the end (of life). Something. 'Ancient and every and over.' This is our beautiful glimpse of forever. Mary Jo Bang's Elegy is a harrowing, necessary work."C.D. Wright "Mary Jo Bang's remarkable elegies recall the late work of Ingeborg Bachmanna febrile, recursive lyricism. Like Nietzsce or Plath, Bang flouts naysayers; luridly alive, she drives deep into aporia, her new sad country. Her stanzas, sometimes spilling, sometimes severe, perform an uncanny death-song, recklessly extendednearly to the breaking point."Wayne Koestenbaum"Perhaps everyone has a story that could break your heartthe poems that make upElegybreak mine. These poems are astonishinghere is fierce, controlled abandon, here is one of our finest poets utterly in the moment, yet the moment is unbearable. 'Theirs is no waking from death,' bang writes, and yet each of these poems is fully alive."Nick Flynn

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Review: Elegy

User Review  - Charles - Goodreads

Mary Jo Bang explores the process of grieving, and how a mother can go on when her son is dead. This book is difficult in both language and content, but exquisitely written. Mary Jo Bang uses ... Read full review

Review: Elegy

User Review  - RD Morgan - Goodreads

Yes, yes, yes. If you enjoyed The Niobe Poems by Kate Daniels, you will enjoy Elegy. Read full review

Contents

A Sonata for Four Hands
3
Where
16
She Remembers His Hat
29
Copyright

3 other sections not shown

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About the author (2007)

Mary Jo Bang is the author of four previous books of poetry, including Louise in Love and The Eye Like a Strange Balloon. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she is director of the creative writing program at Washington University.

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