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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ColumbariumUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
The poems in this year's National Book Critics Circle-winning volume are disarmingly-and deceptively-direct, refracting light in every direction like the little gems that are. Stewart observes the ... Read full review
Sung from the generation of AIR
Drawn from the generation of FIRE
Dark the star
The History of Quiver
From Lessons from Television
These Trees in Particular
Forms of Forts
Let me tell you about my marvelous god
Two Brief Views of Hell
What You Said about the Moon
Now in the minute
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Andromache aphid apple bees beneath breath burning circle clouds COLUMBARIUM crows Dark the star David Lehman dead deep deeper distance door drawn dream earth edge element Ellipse Euripides fall flames forget Forms of Forts girl gone grass halcyon History of Quiver hovering force Immanuel Kant John Donne Kingfisher Carol laugh and laugh leap leaves Lessons from Television Let me tell lifted Lintel living fire look Lost Rules Mackerel sky memory mercy mirrors moon motion myrrh nail nest never Night Songs once orrery OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY Paul Guyer pulled rain Rewind rose Rules of Usage Scarecrow Seasons seeds shadow shadow falls shines silver sing sleepers snow someone stick stone surface SUSAN STEWART swirling teeth things following thought thread of living trans Trees in Particular turn twig Views of Hell waves weather weight wind wings