Columbarium

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 2003 - Poetry - 122 pages
3 Reviews
Winner of the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award in the category of poetry.

In her long-awaited fourth book of poetry, Susan Stewart gives us a series of splendid, numinous poems about truths learned with the mind but set free through the senses. Modeled on the seventeenth-century practice of century forms, or books of one hundred pages, Columbarium expresses the bond between the living and the dead in voices of parent to child, lover to beloved, and mortal to the gods. The book arrives as a meditative gift from one of our most respected poet-critics.

Stewart frames her Columbarium with four poems paying homage to the elements-to their destructive and creative aspects and to their roles in the human and more than human worlds. Both nest and crypt, the book's center holds an alphabet of "shadow georgics," poems of instruction and doubt that link knowledge and the unconscious. Questions of mortality, of goodness and suffering, and of the fragility and power of memory animate these poems. In one poem an apple calls the narrator back from the dead to savor the echoes of its varieties in myth and literature. In another, the seeds of a pear tree reveal the essential unity that makes the diversity of existence possible.

Stewart's Columbarium is both a memorial to the dead and a testament to life.
  

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Review: Columbarium

User Review  - Zach - Goodreads

One of those books that I can tell is pretty great, but that doesn't mean I have to "love" it. Love some of the forms though. Read full review

Review: Columbarium

User Review  - Michael - Goodreads

I've heard such good things about this one. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Sung from the generation of AIR
3
Drawn from the generation of FIRE
12
Apple
23
Bees
28
Braid
30
Cross X
34
Dark the star
36
Ellipse
37
The History of Quiver
71
Rewind
74
The Rose
78
Scarecrow
80
The Seasons
83
shadow Shadow
84
From Lessons from Television
85
These Trees in Particular
88

Forms of Forts
42
Let me tell you about my marvelous god
45
Two Brief Views of Hell
46
shadow Isaiah
48
Jump
51
Kingfisher Carol
52
Lightning
54
shadow Lintel
57
What You Said about the Moon
58
Night Songs
59
Now in the minute
64
O
68
Pear
69
Unless and Until
90
Lost Rules of Usage
93
Vigil
95
Weather
96
Wings
100
XCross
102
To You and For You
103
Zero
106
Wrought from the generation of EARTH
109
Flown from the generation of WATER
113
Notes
121
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Susan Stewart is a professor of English at Princeton University and a former MacArthur Fellow. She is the author of three previous books of poetry, most recently The Forest, published by the University of Chicago Press and winner of the Literary Award of the Philadelphia Atheneum for 1995. She has also written several books of literary and art criticism, including Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, which won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2002 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism and is also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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