Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of a Hundred Hands” as Want to Read:
The Book of a Hundred Hands
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of a Hundred Hands

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  7 reviews
The hand is second only to language in defining the human being, and its constant presence makes it a ready reminder of our humanity, with all its privileges and obligations. In this dazzling collection, Cole Swensen explores the hand from any angle approachable by language and art. Her hope: to exhaust the hand as subject matter; her joy: the fact that she couldn't. These ...more
Paperback, 142 pages
Published October 15th 2005 by University Of Iowa Press
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of a Hundred Hands, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book of a Hundred Hands

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 114)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Sad to put this one away. . .

On second read-through, I'm thinking the hands are not symbolic of anything, but are more a site at which to gather images or strong verbs, mostly suggestive of human relations to the world. . . Swensen conceives of the hands as not symbols of the mind's interaction with reality, but as actually a sort of mind themselves, a sort of subjectivity. I'd recommend this book to dancers--and everyone else, really, but physical people especially--because it does create an em
Mar 14, 2009 Paula rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Paula by: Margie Stein
Shelves: poetry
The book of a hundred hands is a compendium, a thorough and thoroughly poetic examination of the human hand. The poems are organized into sections, which give an idea of Swenson’s approach to the subject: The History of the Hand, Positions of the Hand, Professions of the Hand, Representations of the Hand, The Anatomy of the Hand, American Sign Language, Shadow Puppets, A Manual of Gesture: Public Speaking for the Gentleman (1879), and Paintings of Possible Hands. A few of my favorite lines from ...more
Matthew M.
“In an x-ray you can tell.” Cole Swenson’s recent collection of poems, though we might call it a series of specific engagements and investigations, holds true the line from “Fingertips”: “Attention can hone / down that close, and then the bone flattens out / just a bit / and you can hear / what it hears, and you can hear / it.” This attention referenced, is the outward looking toward the anatomy of the hands, its spaces and curves, i.e. it’s availability to be seen through an imaginative lens, o ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Anna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I've been reading this one for at least a year and haven't been able to finish it. It's about hands. There are lots of them.
interesting but mostly a little beyond me. I would like to read more Swensen though.
i adored just about every page of this
You know, I like hands.
Sarah Heady
Sarah Heady marked it as to-read
Jul 13, 2015
Brandon Courtney
Brandon Courtney marked it as to-read
May 23, 2015
Jerrod marked it as to-read
Mar 20, 2015
Jennifer marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2015
Paul marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Luke marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2014
Whtvrs marked it as to-read
Oct 14, 2014
Kelli Tompkins
Kelli Tompkins marked it as to-read
Apr 26, 2014
Duncan added it
Dec 25, 2013
Lola added it
Oct 16, 2013
Laila Castro
Laila Castro marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2013
Blanca García
Blanca García marked it as to-read
Dec 29, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Cole Swensen (b. 1955— ) in Kentfield near San Francisco, Swensen was awarded a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and is the author of over ten poetry collections and as many translations of works from the French. A translator, editor, copywriter, and teacher, she received her B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa ...more
More about Cole Swensen...
American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry Goest The Glass Age Try Ours

Share This Book