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The Wise and Foolish Builders : Poems
by Alexandra Teague


Overview - This chilling new collection by the author of Mortal Geography (winner of the California Book Award in poetry) is a verse exploration of American progress and its consequences, featuring rifle heiress Sarah Winchester and her unsettling Mystery House, with cameos by Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and many other fascinating figures.  Read more...

 
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More About The Wise and Foolish Builders by Alexandra Teague
 
 
 
Overview
This chilling new collection by the author of Mortal Geography (winner of the California Book Award in poetry) is a verse exploration of American progress and its consequences, featuring rifle heiress Sarah Winchester and her unsettling Mystery House, with cameos by Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill and many other fascinating figures. Steeped in history yet wildly imaginative, these poems commune with Winchester s haunted legacy and that of westward expansion, connecting voices from a troubled past with their irrepressible present-day echoes. The Wise and Foolish Builders is an unmistakable accomplishment by a poet of remarkable formal skill and fantastic originality."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780892554607
  • ISBN-10: 0892554606
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publish Date: May 2015
  • Page Count: 96
  • Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.4 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Poetry > American - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-06-15
  • Reviewer: Staff

The Winchester Mystery House, the Winchester rifle family, and the violent history of the American West provide the core that makes this second effort from Teague (Mortal Geography) a sporadic pleasure and a regular source of knowledge: Annie Oakley and other sharpshooters, Buffalo Bill, the laborers who built the Transcontinental Railroad, even the “command performances” of 1940s-era Armed Forces Radio (“the soldiers could ask for any sound”) give Teague occasions for her poems. The poet herself gives them forms: sonnets, couplets, hypermetrical villanelles, and a pattern in which all the end words repeat in reverse, so that the poem concludes as it began. Losses and near-losses from Teague’s life (“My mother dying, bitter, feverish,// drifting into the end before the end”) provide some counterpoint to what are mostly exercises in historical imagination. Teague has a commitment to research that rivals Robert Pinsky’s and Robyn Schiff’s (who also wrote on Winchester rifles), though she’s less confident in using her ear. These detail-rich poems (especially those about Sarah Winchester) possess both the attractions and the dangers of popular prose histories, even as they break out into lyricism that connects era to era, as when an early photographer’s “portable darknesses/ fill with faces we keep hoping to/ like.” (June)

 
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