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Brief Moral History in Blue
Beth Roberts



Inland Seas

New Issues Poetry & Prose
2001 • 54 pp. 6 x 8 1/2"
Poetry

$14.00 Paperback, 978-1-930974-07-4



“Whatever the heart symbolizes — conviction or affection — it’s clear that language demands center stage. When at an impasse, Roberts follows her words in order to... [continued in Reviews below]”—L.S. Klatt, Jacket Magazine

Reviews / Endorsements

“Whatever the heart symbolizes — conviction or affection — it’s clear that language demands center stage. When at an impasse, Roberts follows her words in order to find a way out of suffering or conundrum. ‘As you empty the thought or fill the feel, / you surround the hole of the mouth that wells up // and understand.’ Emerson posited language as the ‘vehicle of thought’; in Roberts’s hyped-up version, language is as much ‘spectacle’ as ‘vehicle.’ Avoiding set rhyme schemes but staying within more or less uniform stanzas, Roberts devises sonic constellations out of internal rhyme and repetition. These episodic bursts cluster in spectacular patterns. Wordplay also disperses expectations, as when ‘sunsettling’ stands in for the more obvious ‘unsettling.’ Like Clark Coolidge, whose verve depends on malapropism, neologism, and ricochet, Roberts bounces back and forth within a multivalent vocabulary.”—L.S. Klatt, Jacket Magazine

“‘On a day fresh as a haircut’ writes Beth Roberts, ‘I left the family for the field. / I looked hard for the body.’ This is a book of setting out, of looking for the body––familial, sexual, spiritual, poetic––from which we were somehow, long ago, severed. These poems inhabit, unflinchingly, the “invented and inflicted holes” of a consciousness that is by turns grieving, ironic, self-lacerating, celebratory. Roberts' faith in the renovating powers of lyric tradition is as anxious as it is necessary. This book is gorgeous and true.”—Mark Levine



BETH ROBERTS was born in Chicago but spent most of her early years in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She received a B.A. in English from Western Michigan University and her M.F.A. from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa. Her poems have been published in Black Warrior Review, The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, The Iowa Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. She won an individual artist’s fellowship in 1999 from the Illinois Arts Council. Beth Roberts works as a freelance writer and lives in Illinois.



Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:41:55 -0500