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Testimony: The United States, 1885-1915: Recitative

4.63  ·  Rating Details ·  92 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Published (first published 1965)
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Aug 26, 2012 Dylan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
the simplicity of language used by reznikoff makes these poems extremely powerful. it was difficult to read too many of them in one sitting. i think this is the perfect example of poetry that doesn't strive for obscurity and instead focuses all efforts on expressing intensely emotional things. the language used is never emotional and instead the stark objectivity forces the situation directly upon you, giving you a more direct feeling of the experience.

because of the subject matter and the style
Digi Munoz
Aug 25, 2012 Digi Munoz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brutal book.

Each short poem is based on a true court document. Each one generally ends with one type of murder or another. Some are quite difficult to read, but all are quite addictive and beautifully written.

This is one of the few books of poetry which i have read from cover to cover. They resemble very short stories more than traditional poems, as they have very few metaphors and adjectives, etc.

Any of these poems could be expanded into a movie or book.

Having read this book, which i
Paul Secor
Charles Reznikoff was trained as a lawyer, though he practiced law for only a short time. These poems are based on law reports, focused through the ear and eye of a master poet.
Jun 11, 2013 Eric marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Holy JEEZ! The fact that this is being reprinted is a BIG DEAL! Unless one was willing to part with his unemployment insurance for an half of the whole--and at $200, well...
This book is a long, grim litany of mayhem and violence - murder, rape, conspiracy, industrial accidents, railroad accidents, fraud, deceit, and treachery. Reznikoff takes only the facts of court decisions to craft his prose poems, so there is no account of the aftermath, or of any possible justice, just people doing terrible things and having terrible things done to them. I got a little past page 300, slightly more than halfway through, when I had to throw in the towel; without any catharsis, t ...more
Jun 16, 2014 Kelly rated it it was amazing
This is indeed a rough book to read, as it focuses primarily on heartache, murder, disfigurement, suffering, and loss. And yet, it’s pretty great too. Its style (Objectivism) is blunt, to the point, and utterly devoid of literary flourishes. The words mean what they mean and nothing besides.

Taken from court records between 1880 and 1915, “Testimony” reaches across time to illuminate forgotten (and jarringly common) moments of anguish. However, while the stories these poems tell are tough to abso
Neil Griffin
Mar 07, 2015 Neil Griffin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a compelling, addictive, and sad book about the preterite of America's history. Meaning, this is about people you won't read about in history books, since they were too busy robbing, killing, cheating, or were the ones being robbed, killed, and cheated in everyday life around the turn of the 20th century. All this crime told in pitch-perfect poetry that you can read like a story. Really haunting stuff and well worth checking out. I read this over a few months as sort of bed-time stuff to ...more
Aug 18, 2008 Allen added it
CR delves into actual law cases, and the results are hair raising. he made the best use possible of his law degree with this work.
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Sep 03, 2015 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
vol II finished 5 December 2015
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  • “A”
  • The New Sentence
  • Curves to the Apple: The Reproduction of Profiles, Lawn of Excluded Middle, Reluctant Gravities
  • The Collected Poems
  • The Opening of the Field: Poetry
  • Selected Poems and Fragments
  • The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets
  • The Language of Inquiry
  • One with Others: [a little book of her days]
  • Selected Poems: Summer Knowledge
  • The Sonnets
  • The Clouds Should Know Me By Now: Buddhist Poet Monks of China
  • Soap
  • Deviant Propulsion
  • Collected Works
  • The California Poem
  • Commons
  • Trances of the Blast

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