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Grace Notes: Poems

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The title of the collection serves as an umbrella for the intimate concerns expressed in the forty-eight poems; in music, grace notes are those added to the basic melody, the embellishments that—if played or sung at the right moment with just the right touch—can break your heart.

Isn't this what every lyric poem wishes to be, the poet asks as she explored autobiographical e
Paperback, 90 pages
Published March 17th 1991 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published March 1990)
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Feb 11, 2017 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
We learned about the state tree
in school - its fruit
so useless, so ugly

no one bothered to
commend the smudge trunk
nor the slim leaves shifting

over our heads. Yet
they were a good thing to kick
along gutters

on the way home,
though they stank like
a drunk's piss in the roads

where cars had smashed
them. And in autumn
when the shiny helmets split

there was the bald
seed with its wheat-

coloured eye.
We loved
the modest countenance beneath

that leathery cap.
We, too, did not want to leave
our mothers.

We piled
Mike Jensen
Jan 29, 2012 Mike Jensen rated it it was ok
Highly autobiographical poems about the incidents in a poet's life have little appeal for me because I do not know enough about the content of that life for the poem to be meaningful to me. Many love this kind of poetry, poetry about which they are surely as in the dark as I. To such people, I say, enjoy. Though there were two or three poems that escaped this low orbit, I shall not trouble Ms. Dove again.
Christopher Goins
Mar 18, 2015 Christopher Goins rated it really liked it
As a novice, Rita Dove's poems were very challenging to me. Another reviewer said that her poems were so autobiographical that he couldn't enjoy her poems--or something to that effect. I guess that's what is going on here. While I thought the writing was great, I couldn't understand a lot. I think it will take a long time and a lot of close reading to "get them." I like my poems like Tootsie pops, a few licks and you get to the center. These poems were like jawbreakers, hard, and not much reward ...more
Feb 20, 2016 Shannon rated it really liked it
Beautiful collection of poems, some directly correlating to the title, "Grace Notes." Indeed, Dove covers topics from old folks in a nursing home to sex talks with her daughter, from an atheist confessing of her disbelief to her lover to grieving the death of a loved one. The subjects are daring, raw, evocatively depicted.

Some of her poems left unaddressed issues with me after reading. "Horse and Tree," for instance, made broad statements and did not fully embrace or marry the two images like th
Feb 02, 2015 Brendan rated it really liked it
Good stuff.

The poems that stand out, for me:

"Your Death"
"Ars Poetica"
"Canary" - about Billie Holiday
"Old Folks' Home, Jerusalem"
Apr 27, 2007 henry rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: poetry
very good precise poems, practical and beautiful. a special voice with a special ear for place.
Aug 28, 2016 Jsavett1 rated it really liked it
I liked this book of poems. It didn't blow me away but it was excellent. Rita Dove is a former poet laureate, Iowa MFA graduate. So she's good in a way that's good. These are meat and potato poems. They're not in a style that gets in my blood, but they're as solid as an oak tree. Speaking of which, here's a great line: "Everybody who's anybody longs to be a tree--/or ride one, hair blown to froth./That's why horses were invented, and saddles/tooled with singular stars.//This is why we braid thei ...more
Niño Manaog
Jun 20, 2009 Niño Manaog rated it liked it
Igwang saro na gibo daa nin poet lauriat—baad may mga appetizer an tula niya, o igwang epigraphs kada chapter ninda—dangan haralabaon an iba, o an pira pinangararan niya sa amiga; mas gwapa kun raging an mga tsismis sa iba—dai ka mangalas, garo mahihinggustuhan ka.
Brilliant. BRILLIANT. Maybe even sidling up next to Ted Kooser in my heart. Maybe I and the Library of Congress are on the same page as far as favorite poets?
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Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and musician, lives in Charlottesville, where she is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
More about Rita Dove...

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