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Vanitas, Rough: Poems
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Vanitas, Rough: Poems

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  33 ratings  ·  5 reviews
With her trademark language—baroque yet colloquial, immediately recognizable but impossible to duplicate—Lisa Russ Spaar has written her most sumptuous, alluring, and steamy poems to date, each one bursting with an appetite for the sensuous and the lingual. “Is syntax erotic?” she asks in Vanitas, Rough. “If so, please. Please read. Here.”
Paperback, 80 pages
Published December 20th 2012 by Persea
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Valer P.

In Lisa Russ Spaar's new book, transience and meaninglessness are recurrent tropes that seem to link the work thematically. Much like the Flemish "vanitas" paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries(intended to show the futility of earthly pursuits and possessions), Lisa Russ Sparr uses still-life imagery to capitalize on the transience, vanity, and meaninglessness of modern suburban life.

In the poem "God's Gym" for instance, we see a fitness center as a "Plate-glass tableaux of bodies in treadmi
Tripped over this while searching for Dutch vanitas books at the library. Primarily, blank couplets to make one wander (not least into a dictionary). Nonexistent (anachronistic, impossible) saints; attempts at a certain "truth, / that zilch dimension;" still lifes themselves begging for poetic ekphrasis.
Initially, this poetry collection was slow-going. This is the first poetry book I've ordered without actually flipping through the pages (it was #27 on Coldfront's 'Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012'), but the description was engaging enough I couldn't resist giving it a shot.

On first read, Lisa Russ Spaar's fondness for two-line verses (over...and over...and over again) without any immediately visible connecting idea/theme left me feeling frustrated and unable to engage with her writing. Her poems c
Sep 20, 2014 Abby rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Poems with beautiful language; poems that require a dictionary at one's side; poems that I perhaps only understood one-tenth of; but poems that may be lovely and complete just the same, even if they elude me.
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