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The Book of a Hundred Hands
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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
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Lightsey
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
...more
Paula
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
Anna
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.
Kit
interesting but mostly a little beyond me. I would like to read more Swensen though.
Anthony
i adored just about every page of this
Caitlin
You know, I like hands.
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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
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