Dark Waves and Light Matter: Essays

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University of Georgia Press, 1999 - Literary Collections - 176 pages
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Albert Goldbarth’s personal essays are known for their marriage of poetically rich language with research into intriguingly arcane corners of our culture. “Goldbarth is a master mixer,” says the Village Voice, and the New York Times Book Review calls his prose “an artful joining of disparate entities into something new that illuminates as it entertains.”

Dark Waves and Light Matter is an energetic, eclectic gathering of Goldbarth’s recent essays. They are part meditations and part short stories, part scholarship and part downright sassiness. A paean to 1950s comic book villains leads, through a visit with Charles Dickens, to a contemplation on the unity of the first day of Creation. Agatha Christie, Timothy Leary, and Pieter Brueghel all contribute equally to a consideration of how the unity of our lives is perforated by tiny moments of disjunction. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Wizard of Oz, and the National Enquirer unlock a study of patricide and UFOlogy.

These essays look squarely at large, tough, all-encompassing ideas, but they don’t ignore the small specifics that multiply into a day, for example, one “lone orchid pressed into an album; its oils have long past stained the paper around it translucent, a wimple of spectral sheen.”

Annie Dillard has said that Goldbarth’s prose is “lively, brilliant, vivid, witty, and informed,” and Dark Waves and Light Matter triumphantly confirms this assessment.


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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A collection of poet Goldbarth's (Jan. 31, 1974, etc.) previously published essays which burst into the black night like an explosion of firecrackers: eruptions of color and jazz riffs of language ... Read full review


Square of Light i
A History
The Whole of a Persons Nature 2 5
My Week Aboard a UFO
Keepers of the Flame
Whitmans America
To Write of Repeated Patterns
The Lake
The Lemmix
Both Definitions of Save 12 6

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About the author (1999)

Poet and essayist Albert Goldbarth is widely heralded as one of the most creative voices in contemporary American literature. His work frequently appears in the pages of the New Yorker, the Nation, Harper’s, and the major literary reviews. Over the past two decades, he has published nearly two dozen volumes of poems and essays, including Heaven and Earth: A Cosmology (Georgia), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. He has also been a Guggenheim Fellow, the recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, and a finalist for the National Book Award. Goldbarth is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Wichita State University.

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