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Bough Down
by Karen Green


Overview - With fearlessness and grace, Bough Down reports from deep inside the maelstrom of grief. In this profoundly beautiful and intensely moving lament, artist and writer Karen Green conjures the inscrutable space of love and loss, clarity and contradiction, sense and madness.  Read more...

 
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More About Bough Down by Karen Green
 
 
 
Overview
With fearlessness and grace, Bough Down reports from deep inside the maelstrom of grief. In this profoundly beautiful and intensely moving lament, artist and writer Karen Green conjures the inscrutable space of love and loss, clarity and contradiction, sense and madness. She summons memory and the machination of the interior mind with the emotional acuity of music as she charts her passage through the devastation of her husband's suicide. In crystalline fragments of text, Green's voice is paradoxically confessional and non-confessional: moments in her journey are devastating but also luminous, exacting in sensation but also ambiguous and layered in meaning. Her world is haunted by the unnameable, and yet she renders that world with poetic precision in her struggle to make sense of not only of death but of living. In counterpoint, tiny visual collages punctuate the text, each made of salvaged language and scraps of the material world--pages torn from books, bits of paper refuse, drawings and photographs, old postage stamps and the albums which classify them. Each collage--and the creative act of making it--evinces the reassembling of life. A breathtaking lyric elegy, Bough Down uses music and silence, color and its absence, authority of experience and the doubt that trembles at its center to fulfill a humane artistic vision. This is a lapidary, keenly observed work, awash with the honesty of an open heart.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781938221019
  • ISBN-10: 193822101X
  • Publisher: Siglio
  • Publish Date: April 2013
  • Page Count: 186
  • Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Poetry > American - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-03-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

This poetry-prose hybrid attempts to deal with Green’s husband’s death, flitting back and forth in time as everything in the present dredges up memories of her husband. Scattered throughout are visual poems—images of words cut out, rearranged, and painted over so some can barely be read. These images are small—some literally appear to be postage stamps—and easy to overlook, but they tie into the written passages in subtle ways. Early on, Green lists: “August. Abluvion. Airling. All-overish. I write these words down for later.” About halfway through, in the image that became the book’s cover, words starting with “A” appear in a different font, cut from a different source. On the next page, Green sighs: “No wonder I can’t make out the dictionary’s secret arc.” Words are her coping mechanism, but it’s clear from the beginning that they aren’t enough to convey the depth of her grief. She buries herself in the lives of people around her: a jazz singer, the doctor at the mental hospital, her dogs. The book hints at healing, but with such stream-of-consciousness prose and a traumatic subject, closure may be too much to hope for: Green’s last words on the subject are an abrupt: “I can’t wrap this up.” Perhaps her redemption comes from trying. 53 color illus. (Apr.)

 
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