Almost Invisible: Poems
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Almost Invisible: Poems

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  161 ratings  ·  26 reviews
From Pulitzer Prize–winner Mark Strand comes an exquisitely witty and poignant series of prose poems. Sometimes appearing as pure prose, sometimes as impure poetry, but always with Strand’s clarity and simplicity of style, they are like riddles, their answers vanishing just as they appear within reach. Fable, domestic satire, meditation, joke, and fantasy all come together...more
Hardcover, 68 pages
Published March 13th 2012 by Knopf (first published 2012)
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Jim Coughenour
Mark Strand's surprising (after Blizzard of One) collection of prose poems starts off with an epigraph from Mr. Micawber ("something will turn up!") of David Copperfield. This is a signal to hold on to our sense of humor* as we read our way through some dark – but hardly bitter – reflections on the end of life, the end of talent, the ends of all kinds of things that open unexpectedly into dream corridors, or to gentle figura appearing at the edge of consciousness, rueful images of our distant se...more
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All of these poems seemed to be about aging, the passage of time, the disappearance of man and memory. A few will haunt me ("The Emergency Room at Dusk", "Exhaustion at Sunset"), but most will vanish the moment I return this slim volume to the library.
Almost Invisible consists almost entirely of paragraph-long prose poems—there's just one piece, the poem-within-a-poem of "Poem of the Spanish Poet," that deviates from that form at all. I like prose poems, generally, the way they sometimes could almost be called short-short stories, and I like these prose poems, the way that in bite-sized pieces they blend humor and nostalgia and uncertainty. I like the vagueness of some of these poems, like "Bury Your Face in Your Hands", with its images of wi...more
What can I say about Mark Strand that hasn't already been said? I admire his poetry for being simple and precise, with a dash of the unexpected, and the poems in his newest collection are no exception. When a poem leaves you simultaneously moved and unsettled, you know you are reading the work of a master, a master of language and imagery and voice, and even humor. As I made my way through "Almost Invisible," I stuck a post-it by my favorite poems, and by the end realized that I had stuck around...more
Strand said, in the annotations for The Best of American Poetry 2011 that his next book will be a prose-poem collection. And so it is: his latest collection, Almost Invisible, is quite a departure from the Pulitzer-winning Blizzard of One. The signposts are clear; while that trademark meditative tone and the simplicity of Strand's diction are retained, the poet struggles to get out of his familiar "voice" or style and plays up instead elements borrowed from fiction and culled from fables.

The ve...more
John Pappas
Mark Strand contemplates death as a self-abnegating, other-creating force in 50 enigmatic, elliptical prose poems which flicker in and out of sight like Will-o'-Wisps on the edges of your vision. Structured as quasi-fables with no morals (or with the moral being that there is no moral), these self-effacing poems present the impossibility of life, love and knowing with glee and longing. On their own, each poem is like a quick sketch -- a wry joke, a half-remembered dream -- but taken as a whole t...more
Eli Brooke
I memorized "Reasons for Moving" after a woman browsing next to me in a bookstore in Vermont read it aloud to her friend from one of his poetry collections which I subsequently bought when I was on vacation at age 17.

I read this straight through yesterday, twice over each and as lingeringly as I could on a stalled el train. As with all condensed and evocative pieces, will need to spend more time with them but particularly liked "Clarities of the Nonexistent," "The Everyday Enchantment of Music,...more
I really love Mark Strand; several of his volumes of poetry are on my favorites list, but this is not one of them. One or two of the prose poems included, I liked; a few more were enjoyable, but mostly I simply applaud the exercise of doing/trying something different. The form, I don't believe, brought out something wonderous in Strand's work and other volumes that seemed experimental were much more impactful, refreshing and profound.
What an interesting little collection. Very difficult to describe, you just need to read it, and go with it. Only one produced a staring-off-into-space moment upon completion, but only a few produced boredom. I don't know ... it's difficult to find the words to describe Strand's pieces, and difficult to find the words to describe my reaction to them. Good reading on a crisp fall evening.
Sep 01, 2012 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
The form of these prose poems is similar to the stuff I've been writing lately. I wanted to give it five stars just for that but then I realized how sort of impossible it is to read or understand or make much of and I know I can do better than that. I can hide in prose poems (or flash fiction, if you prefer; not sure where the line falls) but there's more to it than that.
I love Strand and wanted to like this book more than I did. The prose poems echo his long time theme of "I am here, now I'm gone" but most of it left me flat. There were a couple of works that jolted me, and these I liked. But overall, as a collection of works, it was just okay.
I haven't read a poetry collection in a couple of years, and this was a prose poetry series that was humorous and interesting, with a couple of ah-ha moments over mind-blowing, mind-breaking ones. Minus the sentimental ones (come on!), the other poems are items I'd return to.
May 09, 2012 Sara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
There are reasons that I do not read much poetry, and it is no fault of the poems themselves. It's just not one of the genres that I prefer, and this collection, though the poems are more akin to short (very short) stories, is not really my cup of tea.
Really nothing special. No variety. I've read far better poetry by obscure poets with no name recognition. I wonder if any of these paragraphs would be published if they didn't have Strand' name on them. His earlier work is far better.
For all their brevity, these poems are heavy and philosophical. Strand is a master of language but some of these felt too much about cleverness for me. I didn't quite feel that I was the reader being addressed. Titles are stellar.
Joseph Peterson
Another extraordinary collection from Strand. The estrangement and dislocation that these poems signify, lies just beneath the glossy beautiful surface. Think Wallace Stevens refracted through a latter day Cheever.

I've never really liked prose poems, so while these were good in spite of their form, they still fell flat for me. A few were notable but most were indistinguishable from the rest.
Entre poemas y pequeños cuentos metafísicos. Mark Strand tiene algo que sólo unos pocos tienen. O quizá sólo lo tenga él. Sea mejor o peor el libro siempre tiene algo, algo especial.
This was very different, style wise, then most of the poetry I've read before. It seemed to be very random, but that made it more interesting to continue to read.
Wonderful collection of original prose poetry. I attended a reading of his in New York City, which influenced my tremendous respect for the collection.
This book of Strand's poems resonated most strongly with me in the poems sharing moments of emptiness or peering into mystery. Very fine.
Dreamy sentence plays. I stayed a little on the outside and missed getting hooked in completely, but it was fun to be buffeted about.
Some of which are very good. Most of which are redundant or derivative of past work. He's still a giant and he's still alive.
Slim book by Pulitzer Prize winning poet...poems are more like tiny essays that make you go "huh?"
Lovely prose poems. A great place to start for people who think they "don't get" poetry.
This aren't your typical poems. They read more like short stories. Lovely.
Confusing and charming all at once.
Ghada marked it as to-read
Apr 16, 2014
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Mark Strand is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, essayist, and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990. Since 2005, he has been a professor of English at Columbia University.
More about Mark Strand...
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms Selected Poems Blizzard of One Reasons for Moving / Darker / The Sargentville Notebook New Selected Poems

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“Those hours given over to basking in the glow of an imagined
future, of being carried away in streams of promise by a love or
a passion so strong that one felt altered forever and convinced
that even the smallest particle of the surrounding world was
charged with purpose of impossible grandeur; ah, yes, and
one would look up into the trees and be thrilled by the wind-
loosened river of pale, gold foliage cascading down and by the
high, melodious singing of countless birds; those moments, so
many and so long ago, still come back, but briefly, like fireflies
in the perfumed heat of summer night.”
“She stood beside me for years, or was it a moment? I cannot remember. Maybe I loved her, maybe I didn't. There was a house, and then no house. There were trees, but none remain. When no one remembers, what is there? You, whose moments are gone, who drift like smoke in the afterlife, tell me something, tell me anything.” 10 likes
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