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4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  493 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Winner of the 1994 Lamont Poetry selection of The Academy of American Poets. "Kelly has a talent for coaxing out the world's ghosts and then fixing them in personal landscapes of fear and uncertainty.... Smoothed by nuances of sound and rhythm, her poems exude an ambiguous wisdom, an acceptance of the sad magic that returns us constantly to the lives we might have led."--L ...more
Paperback, 90 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by BOA Editions Ltd.
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(showing 1-30 of 888)
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Emma Bolden
I read "Song" in graduate school and immediately bought this book, but never made it all the way through. Now I am ashamed of my graduate school self, because this book? INCREDIBLE. It's not always easy to get through Kelly's poems, because they're very dense, but they're also immaculately crafted. The first and last poems in this book might be two of the best I've ever read. The last poem should be a must-read for all poets, especially those who work in longer forms. It's so spell-binding I'm p ...more
Molly Brodak
One of my favorite books, ever.
This is how it's done, y'all.
Dec 31, 2014 Will rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Will by: Professor Jennifer Atkinson
Shelves: poetry
In Song, Brigit Pegeen Kelly has crafted elaborate and carefully weighed lines of poetry, some more formal than others, but all with care and considerable work; however, each poem in this collection is marked by an almost elemental pain, something natural and raw: a profound sadness, a kind of waiting and watching. Is it our destruction of the natural world? Yes, in part, but it is also the reality of death that colors all things. It is standing among the ruined gravestones, our monuments to imp ...more
Although Kelly is an interesting poet, this book disappoints primarily because the opening/title poem is AMAZING. It is one of my most favorite poems -- one of the best. Unfortunately, it is so good -- lyrical, moving, unforgettably powerful-- that the rest of the book pales by comparison. The rest of the work while good, just can't live up to this once-in-a-lifetime poem.
When you read these poems, it will be as if you have entered another world- but an inner world...of dark images and half-remembered music. I am at a total loss for words to describe or even think about this book. Read the opening (title) poem and you will know what I mean.
Myth, surrealism, some poems in formal arrangements, some pushed to prose; a world filled with rich harmony and strangeness, fresh vocabulary and uncanny image.
One of the most beautiful collections of poetry ever written.
This book is exquisite and utterly devastating.
A good poet, but hard to enjoy her poems, I find.
Everyone of these three stars is for the title poem to this book. "Song" is/will be a classic.

The book is good too:
Themes: Death, aggression, violence, passion, restlessness, un-fulfillment, restraint, savageness, maleness.
The tone of Song is oftentimes somber. It works in contrasts with many of the violent images which builds a tension that is inherent to the book's primary themes and subject. Primarily the subject is the violence and aggression that occurs from imposed restraint or un-fulfillm
Christina Olivares
"song," the title poem, is hands-down my favorite poem ever. i didn't like the rest of the book because it didn't speak to me; but it's still fantastic poetry.


Listen: there was a goat's head hanging by ropes in a tree.
All night it hung there and sang. And those who heard it
Felt a hurt in their hearts and thought they were hearing
The song of a night bird. They sat up in their beds, and then
They lay back down again. In the night wind, the goat's head
Swayed back and forth, and from far off it
Curtis Bauer
Every time I reread this book, or a few poems, I always have to start with the first and then the last poems, "Song" and "Three Cows and the Moon": they're amazing. I think they're my favorites, but then I start in and (re)discover more poems to love: of course there's "Of Royal Issue," but also the one about everything being a bird once (can't recall the name right now...and my copy is in my office.

Among so many other things I like about Kelly's poems, about her craft, specifically is her use o
You know from the first poem, Song, that the poems in this collection are going to take you to a darker place than most. Song, a poem about the head of a goat singing to its body, to the boys who have decapitated it as a joke.

Death and loss follow in most of the poems. Kelly uses death in nature, the dead goat mentioned above is followed by a dead deer, its legs up in the air, beside a bus stop. There is the cow that dies after giving birth, moving away from its calf before laying down to die.
I am not sure why Kelly is not more well known. My poetry professor (the late, great, sorely missed poet Jake Adam York) recommended I read it during a poetry class I took from him about ten years ago. I have read it many times, and I cannot quite figure out why the poems are so moving, yet at the same time disturbing. The title poem alone devastates me every time I read it...Kelly's use of imagery and narrative is like nothing I have ever read.
Sang-A Bae
I've never seen something so gruesome and visceral as death juxtaposed so wonderfully with something like beauty. The work speaks volumes for itself than I ever could. Fantastic read.
really a 4.5.
What praise hasn't been offered for this book? In one way, Kelly's poems explain why myths exist. An occasion for a goat head hanging across from a bus stop is extraordinary, and it is human nature to try and protect ourselves from this portent by telling a story about it. Kelly manages to combine a moment like this into one of dis-ease, love, and intensity.
I think this book of poems is worthy of 5 stars, but I rate them with my own individual plelasure/style/inspiration to write my own book like it. This book is full of thorough, well-crafted, masterpiece-like poems. Beautiful words, phrases, images, fluencey. Everything. I took a page and half of notes, but it's just not just what I'm looking for.
This book is like a beautiful body without a heart.
Kelly was new to me as a poet, recommended by a friend that I trust. Not disappointed in any way. Some brilliant moments, a lot of reflective moments. Definitely will keep her work on my to read lists whenever I encounter it. Highly recommended.
Megan RFA
I really wanted to give this book a higher rating. So many of these poems were beautifully crafted and striking for a variety of reasons. Maybe it's my fault I couldn't get as into them. Perhaps it's the wrong time in my life for this collection.
May 09, 2007 Maya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy mythical allusion
Pegeen Kelly has an uncanny knack for connecting narrative & geography through the use of simile. . . besides elucidating description, the comparisions she draws actually advance the story of the poem. . .
Many of Kelly's poems were dense and hard to get into, but there were some really amazing moments througout the book. My favorite poems were "Of Ancient Origins and War" and "Dead Doe".
Patricia Murphy
So many memorable moments in these poems. I can't wait to come back to them again to rediscover their surprising syntax and symbolism.
Lindsay Shane
Though I gave the book 4 stars in its entirety, I would give 5+ stars to the title poem - it is amazing, moving, magical.
Bryce Emley
i may need to reread this. something about it really lingers, but i don't really know what.
Feb 08, 2015 Allyson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Allyson by: Sally K
Shelves: poetry
why am I living in a city again? why am I not out in a silent field somewhere
Tory Adkisson
Haunting and beautiful. I true classic. What else can I say?
haunting. beautiful. "song" is one of my fav. poems.
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