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The Cuckoo

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The winner of the 2003 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Peter Streckfus's The Cuckoo, chosen by competition judge and Poet Laureate Louise Gluck. It is Gluck's first selection as judge. In this unforgettable, daring first collection, Peter Streckfus offers the reader poems of deep originality and astonishing power. Taking his inspiration from both American and C ...more
Paperback, 78 pages
Published March 11th 2004 by Yale University Press
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Apr 07, 2008 Will rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Strange, wildly original, and full of fresh mythical imagery. One of my favorite examples:

*"Pilgrim's Progress"

Hsüan-tsang and his party traveled fourteen days from Ait Aein to
Wansgelt. Look. On the eighth day. Here they come:

His little monkey companion rattles its collar bell;
And the piglet requires more water than they can afford.
The little monkey's bell sounds loudly in the silent heat,
Disharmonious to the company's foot falls;
The piglet requires drink! Oh, the poor foundling piglet
Wants its
This was an interesting book. Even if I didn't like a poem, I usually liked what the poet was trying to do with the poem. He wrote poems in the voice of The Oregon Trail (written in 1875) and or based on the Monk Hsuan tseng's trip in The Journey to the West (written in the 16th century).

My favorites in the book are the ones that are written in the poet's voice himself. They are imaginative, and beautiful. He has a lot of recurring characters or subjects in the book, which I always enjoy. Peacoc
Julia Gay
The first time I ever read this book of poetry, I felt like I had stepped through a dimensional portal to a world that was incredibly similar to my own but I couldn't understand the worlds people were saying. English had turned into some sort of alien language, though the words registered, they didn't make sense in their placement in sentences.
This is not a bad thing. In fact, this only encouraged me to reread. Each time I read these poems, I understand a little more. Of course, since it's poet
Aug 25, 2007 Joe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: experience unpretentious eruditon
Shelves: poetry
Streckfus doesn't let you know he is referring to another work--rather, he just confronts you with images scooped from unusual texts in all their lush, anachronistic bizarreness. The poem "Organum" is collage at its best--both playing on & paying homage to what is most striking in the original text. & while this book isn't all collage, his most energetic poems seem to draw on the startling leaps that the gaps in a collage piece force one to take.

Wasn't fond of his shorter poems & th
I really enjoyed this book!!
Sarah Smith
I think I flipped through this a few years ago at a used bookstore in Pittsburgh and decided that it wasn't worth buying, and have been ignoring it ever since. Somehow I thought I knew what was up with this book based on that experience, but whatever, I was wrong. There's a point to the lyricism here, and I'm grateful for it because I'm not too inclined to enjoy pointlessly torqued language. Maybe pointless torque is impossible. Eh. Anyway.
I've been reading this off and on for the last six months. Both the individual poems and the manuscript as a whole are stunning. Individual moments sometimes echoed Anne Carson and Lucie Brock-Broido. One of the very best, most seductive books of poetry I've read this year. I can't wait to see more of his work.
Paraphrasing Louise Gluck--

Enjoy being seduced by nonsense.

Mar 07, 2008 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Well put together.
Sara marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
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Apr 10, 2014 Peter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
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Jan 18, 2014
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Peter Streckfus is the author of two poetry books: Errings, winner of Fordham University Press’s 2013 POL Editor’s Prize, and The Cuckoo, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2003. His poems appear in journals such as The Chicago Review, The New Republic, Seattle Review, and Slate. His awards include fellowships and grants from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Peter S. R ...more
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