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Desolation: Souvenir
Paul Hoover




Omnidawn
2012 • 88 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry - American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-890650-58-2



Paul Hoover now establishes himself as an important voice of deep emotional resonance and far ranging vision.

Fiercely elegiac, the title poem of Paul Hoover’s desolation : souvenir began as a “filling in” of the blank spaces in A Tomb for Anatole, Paul Auster’s translation of Mallarmé’s grief-stricken notes for a poem that he never completed on the death of his ten-year-old son. However, Hoover’s writing soon turned to his own consideration of life, death, the breaking of family relations, and loss of love as experienced by all of us: “when death plays / with a child / it goes out nimble / comes back cold / life that traitor / aboard a razor boat.” Written in three terse stanzas, each of the poem’s 50 pages offers a phrase that becomes the title of its opposite number at the other end of the manuscript. The result is a haunting echoic effect that becomes especially rich as the phrases “cross” at the middle of the sequence. At times, the poem mourns the loss of the earth itself: “what will be enough / when the earth / contains no one / will the harvest still be full” and “no bees in the hive, no hive / sound returns to its bell.” Inspired by his reading of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, the companion poem, “The Windows (The Actual Acts),” consists of a series of philosophical propositions in everyday language: “An object is the actual awaiting further action. / It can wait a long time. / Time is fresh in objects even when they decay. / You can’t give one example of time getting old.” Another series of thoughts begins: “Have you every gazed from a window to see if everything’s still there? / And see your own face in the glass, superimposed on the view? / Consciousness rests among its objects. / Which makes the objects restless.” Long established as a poet of wit and intelligence, Paul Hoover now establishes himself as an important voice of deep emotional resonance and far ranging vision.



PAUL HOOVER is the editor of the influential anthology Postmodern American Poetry, co-editor with Maxine Chernoff of the literary magazine New American Writing, and author of twelve previous poetry collections. His prizes include the Frederick Bock Award from Poetry, the Jerome J. Shestack Award from American Poetry Review, an NEA Fellowship in poetry, and the GE Foundation Award for Younger Writers. The Hölderlin volume that he co-translated with Maxine Chernoff (and that was also published by Omnidawn) won the PEN-USA Translation Award in 2009. Born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and raised in the rural Midwest, he lived and taught for many years in Chicago. He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University.
Born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and raised in the historically pacifist Church of the Brethren, Paul Hoover was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War and published a novel about that experience, Saigon, Illinois (1988) in the noted Vintage Contemporaries series. He has traveled widely to present his poetry and translations, including the countries of Brazil, Belgium, Vietnam, China, England, Russia, Scotland, and Mexico. And, he curates a poetry reading series at the deYoung Museum of Fine Art, San Francisco.



Sat, 2 Dec 2017 12:11:05 -0500