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Orphan Fire
Alissa Valles



Stahlecker Selections

Four Way
2008 • 70 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-884800-87-0



“Valles's terse, learned, harsh collection is one of the standout first books of the year. The polyglot poet, who has lived in Amsterdam, Britain, Poland... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publisher's Weekly

This remarkable sequence of lyric poems combines to a beautiful, luminous exploration of emotional intensity, of how the body is inhabited by fear, or love, or “a cynical knowledge that helps us endure.” The images in these poems will be etched in your mind long after you have put this book down.

Reviews / Endorsements

Valles's terse, learned, harsh collection is one of the standout first books of the year. The polyglot poet, who has lived in Amsterdam, Britain, Poland and Russia, stirred up controversy with her recent translation of Zbigniew Herbert's Collected Poems; her travels and his work inform her stark regard for the brutalities of European history, represented here by spare handfuls of images—"the North shaves and washes in its cold mirror." Valles adapts almost equally well to very long lines and to short ones, to Continental and to American scenes: in Chicago, "the trees by the lake are ripping a thousand plastic bags to shreds." When she takes a longer view, adapting ancient myths or ancient authors, her lapidary talents are almost unequaled: "Constant fire, passing into the created world," says the title poem, "loses track of its source and destroys its end." Like Pound before her, Valles constructs a fiery multipart poem of grief around a free adaptation of the Latin poet Propertius, which is suggestive not so much of recent American poetry as of classical models or of the best bits of Pound: "Fire frays, rain seeps, the years' heels beat all into the ground.... But the clear light of the mind knows no hours or years." (starred review)—Publisher's Weekly



ALISSA VALLES was born in Amsterdam in 1972 to American and Dutch parents. She grew up in the USA and the Netherlands, studied Slavic languages, literature and history at London’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Iowa Review and elsewhere. She lives in Berkeley.



Sat, 2 Dec 2017 11:58:19 -0500