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Blindsight [Paperback]

Rosmarie Waldrop

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Book Description

Oct. 28 2003
The latest book of prose poems by one of America's premier philosophical poets. For the title of her newest collection of prose poems, Rosmarie Waldrop adopts a term—"blindsight"— used by the neuroscientist Antonio R. Damasio to describe a condition in which a person actually sees more than he or she is consciously aware. "This is one reason," explains Waldrop, "for using collage: joining my fragments to other people's fragments in a dialogue, a net relation that might catch a bit more of the 'world.'"

The collection—the author's fourth with New Directions—is divided into four thematic sections. The first, "Hölderlin Hybrids," resonates against the German poet's twisted syntax, while using rhythmic punctuation in counterpoint to sense. "'As Were,'" says Waldrop, "began with looking at the secondary occupations of artists—for example, Mallarmé teaching English, Montaigne serving as mayor of Bordeaux—but this soon gave way to playing more generally with particular aspects of historical figures." The title section, "Blindsight," is most consistent in its use of collage, juxtaposing words and images to jolting, epiphanic effect. "Cornell Boxes," in contrast, has a formal unity, inspired by the constructions of Joseph Cornell, each prose poem "box" composed in a structure of fours: four paragraphs of four sentences each, with four footnotes.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (Oct. 28 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811215598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811215596
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 150 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Waldrop is the author of more than 15 collections of poetry and 20 books of translations (including Edmond JabŠs's seminal The Book of Questions) and a professor at Brown University who has mentored an entire generation of poets. She takes her latest title from a neurological condition in which a person sees more than they are aware of-but adds an intersubjective twist. Addressing the various arcs of life and mortality, the book is intricately sectioned, with parts either dedicated to or containing epigraphs from peers and former students such as Charles Bernstein, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Cole Swenson, Jennifer Moxley, with individual poems within the sections dedicated to more of Waldrop's poet acquaintances, creating a complex layering of poetic connections and perceptions. "H"lderlin Hybrids" is a sort of tribute to the German master, while the second section of the book, "As Were," experimentally recreates lives of figures such as da Vinci, Goethe and Mallarm‚. Waldrop also draws from contemporaries to create collaged poems indelibly marked with her own philosophical, and often deeply beautiful, language, infused with doubt: "taking your hand, or someone's/ for fear that writing/ though waiting for it, would/ make me a shadow,/ or from fatigue, worthy/ of the dark."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars What I think about it Dec 12 2012
By Randi Scheidler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rosemary Waldrop's Blindsight is an intricately crafted work of sublime beauty. Its many threads of theme weave together into what I experienced as (unconventionally) spiritual work. I think it was her preoccupation with the body and its smaller miracles that I found particularly (read: particle (like chemistry and such) ulary) striking, "You should take everything. Except your shoelaces. To heart. Which moves within the flesh. And should." Her voice has a certain authority that begs harmony between page and person, from the tip of your fingertips to the tip of her tongue. It is obscure, troubling, and eccentric, and I never once doubted that she meant every word of it. Every line that turned axiom to me, which was every other line. I'd recommend it, I'd keep it on my nightstand, I'd fall asleep with it under my pillow.

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