No Heaven

Front Cover
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005 - Poetry - 136 pages
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Alicia Suskin Ostriker's voice has long been acknowledged as a major force in American poetry. In No Heaven, her eleventh collection, she takes a hint from John Lennon's "Imagine" to wrestle with the world as it is: "no hell below us, / above us only sky."

It is a world of cities, including New York, London, Jerusalem, and Berlin, where the poet can celebrate pickup basketball, peace marches, and the energy of graffiti. It is also a world of families, generations coming and going, of love, love affairs, and friendship. Then it is a world full of art and music, of Rembrandt and Bonnard, Mozart and Brahms. Finally, it is a world haunted by violence and war. No Heaven rises to a climax with elegies for Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated by an Israeli zealot, and for the poet's mother, whose death is experienced in the context of a post-9/11 impulse to destroy that seems to seduce whole nations.

Yet Ostriker's ultimate stance is to "Try to praise the mutilated world," as the poet Adam Zagajewski has counseled. At times lyric, at times satiric, Ostriker steadfastly pursuesin No Heaven her poetics of ardor, a passion for the here and now that has chastened and consoled her many devoted readers.

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No heaven

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Ostriker's new collection (after The Volcano Sequence ) presents her characteristic, effortless precision, as though she were unearthing the beauty inherent in things, experiences, and song. A ... Read full review


Bus Station
Liking It
In the FortyFifth Year of Marriage
What You Cannot Remember What You Cannot Know
Poem Beginning with a Line by Rumi
Letter of Inquiry
Another Imaginary Voyage
The Painting of Force and Violence
Ravel Piano Trio
Three Women
Elegy for Allen
Into the Street

About the author (2005)

Alicia Suskin Ostriker's previous collections of poetry include The Imaginary Lover, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award, and The Crack in Everything and The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, both National Book Award finalists. She has also received the Paterson Poetry Prize and the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award. Of her five volumes of criticism, including Dancing at the Devil's Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics, and the Erotic. She is professor of English at Rutgers University and teaches in the MFA program of New England College.

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