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The Book of a Hundred Hands
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The Book of a Hundred Hands

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  69 Ratings  ·  9 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
May 09, 2008 Lightsey rated it it was amazing
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
Matthew M.
Feb 20, 2008 Matthew M. rated it it was amazing
“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
Paula
Feb 21, 2009 Paula rated it really liked it
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
Anna
Aug 23, 2007 Anna rated it really liked it
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.
Anthony
Oct 07, 2008 Anthony rated it it was amazing
i adored just about every page of this
Caitlin
Aug 12, 2007 Caitlin rated it really liked it
You know, I like hands.
Matthew
Feb 19, 2017 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
If you do know that here is one hand, we'll grant you all the rest.
- Wittgenstein, On Certainty


The Book of a Hundred Hands is divided into nine parts: "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 Gestures: Public Speaking for the Gentleman (1879)", and "Paintings of Possible Hands"...

From "The History of the Hand"...

Skip a stone across a water. Your
...more
Kit
May 24, 2012 Kit rated it liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
interesting but mostly a little beyond me. I would like to read more Swensen though.
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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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