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The Alphabet Not Unlike the World: Poems
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The Alphabet Not Unlike the World: Poems

4.49 of 5 stars 4.49  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  9 reviews
In her accomplished second collection of poems, Katrina Vandenberg writes from the intersection of power and forgiveness. With poems named for letters of the Phoenician alphabet, and employing such innovative forms as the ancient ghazal, Vandenberg deciphers the seemingly indecipherable in this extraordinary becoming of self through language. Moving between the physical an ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Milkweed Editions
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This volume was a bit more hit or miss with me than Atlas, which I loved from beginning to end. There are some fantastic poems in here but some of the alphabet related poems, although thought provoking, felt a little contrived. Still one of the better volumes of poetry I've read though.
Nov 24, 2012 Molly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poems
Some days we are comfortable enough that we don't know the sky / is there much less that we should raise our arms to it. (21)
when moon-suited firemen climbed inside, // the upstairs window was singing with flies. (27)
prey animals / have their babies fast, to walk away before the blood / attracts a predator (66)
I would not have trusted anyone to see // that something growing inside me wanted out, / wanted to be shaking and raw, wet and new. (66)

poem I love and that weaves many layers together:
Oh, so smart and beautiful and about important things--I envy it, it's just so perfect.
A very solid book of poems, one that covers a surprisingly wide range of territory, from the semi-linguistic explorations of letters to the more personal, narrative poems that make up the book. I really appreciated the way this book wanted to have it both ways, as experimental and self-regarding and also aware of the world, its blandishments and emotional costs, and I think it mostly succeeded at that. Good stuff here.
Luke Daly
This book is so full of bravura and complexity. The shifting gaze and disjointed syntax challenge me but do not ever leave me behind completely. And I really like it. The agility she displays is virtuous and hearkens back to the great leapers like Neruda. Looking for dragon smoke. Eating it.
Like "Atlas," I find this collection emotive, powerful and beautiful. I highly recommend Katrina Vandenberg to anyone looking for a little bit of lovely in their life, just be prepared to feel the words as the ebb and flow off the page.
Original and accomplished. This work is a pleasure to read.
Even better than her first.
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Atlas: Poems On Marriage The Road to Happiness

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“In math, the backwards E, ∃, means there exists. ∈ means part of a set. A line through that ∉ means excluded from. Everyone ∃, but not everyone ∈. We all feel that, unless we ∈, we do not ∃.” 5 likes
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