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Edge Effect
Trails and Portrayals
Sandra McPherson

Wesleyan Poetry Series

1996 • 95 pp. 2 illus. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-2226-9
$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7250-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“McPherson is a distinctive stylist and a compassionate voice whose work continues to enrich and reward readers.”Publishers Weekly

Constructed in two parts, this collection embraces secretly related worlds: the poetics of natural history and artistic discoveries of self-taught folk artists.

Edge Effect is Sandra McPherson's most original work to date. Constructed in two parts, the collection embraces secretly related worlds: the poetics of natural history and artistic discoveries of self-taught folk artists. Throughout, waves from one poem mark the shores of others. In natural history, an edge effect occurs where two communities, such as land and sea, overlap, that zone becoming more diversified than each of them. McPherson explores this effect in nature and art, questioning our notions of inside and outside, center and margin. Profound and moving, she recasts the very premises of formal understanding in poetry, accommodating at once the arts of nature and the nature of art.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“[Poems in the ‘Portrayals’ section of Edge Effect] are redolent with fresh-picked words and metaphors, and readers partaking of them may achieve an altered, even exalted state, in which things are seen from unexpected perspectives.”Booklist

“A fascinating, original, rich and appealing work that furthers McPherson's perspicacious examination of the natural world while entering new ground . . . McPherson's language ranges from the scientific to the meditative, her forms from the notational to the elegant and eloquent. This is a masterful and expansive book.” —Alison Deming

“The zone where two communities overlap, called ecotone, shares characteristics of both communities ad therefore is diverse. That is, the edge of a community is more diversified that its center, a phenomenon also known as 'edge effect.' The region where the land and sea overlap is known as the interidal or littoral zone. This region, influenced by the daily ebb and flow of ides, is one of the best examples of edge effect in the world.”Alan A. Schoenherr, A Natural History of California

“Today, an artist can be untrained, lacking in dexterity, emotionally disabled, even legally blind, yet still be recognized and rewarded for artistic excellence. There may be no better way to understand this progression than to search for art in thrift shops, flea markets, and yard sales. There, amid the dental irrigators, stuffed animals, and coffee mugs, you’re on your own-as are the unknown artists whose works are haphazardly offered. But if you search long enough, and are fortunate, you’ll not only find something worth keeping, you’ll also develop an eye that will enable you to recognize the excellence in other unlikely places-in backyards, down dirt roads, in senior citizen centers, in homeless shelters-in short, wherever someone, however 'unqualified,' decides to be graphically expressive.”—Gene Epstein, “What Kind of Art is This?”

From the Book:

While we may squint, its glint is broken lenses.
Rubbing sand in my palm, I feel
vision in that hand. I see
to reach outside the wet breathing ribcage
of the horizon.

SANDRA MCPHERSON is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis, and the author of twelve books, including The Spaces Between Birds (1996), The God of Indeterminacy (1993), and Streamers (1988). Her book The Year of Our Birth (1978) was nominated for the National Book Award and she has been featured on the Bill Moyers series The Language of Life. She is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:01:13 -0500