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The Exchange: Poems
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The Exchange: Poems

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  6 reviews
“Black’s voice is startling, jagged and implacable, and [her poetry] is steep, precipitous and dazzling.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

I took care of myself. I took care
Of myself, thinking much too often

I took care of someone else.
Everything feels like payment.
—from “Pay Attention”

In The Exchange, Sophie Cabot Black explores the surprising interplay between mortality and
Paperback, 88 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Graywolf Press
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My first foray into poetry did not disappoint.

In The Exchange, Ms. Black blends together powerful and depressing themes so deftly that I experienced a time delay from when I put down the book to when I noticed that my soul was crushed by her sparse prose.

Caveat emptor- Death, the meaningless pursuit of profits, and loss are all recurring themes in this brutally honest examination of the human condition so if you have the emotional reserve to get through it, it's highly recommended.

I just finished Sophie Cabot Black’s collection of poetry, “The Exchange,” and I didn’t have the slightest idea what I was reading most of the time.

I’ve been reading a lot of modern poetry lately, and some of it is just awful. Generally, when I come upon something written in my native language, I expect to derive some basic sense of it while reading it. But some modern poetry, such as Black’s, is so disjointed and meaningless that I have to wonder if I’m experiencing what dementia or Alzheimer’s
Who knew you could write poetry about the financial industry and somehow relate it to the struggles of overcoming cancer? Apparently, that is what Sophie Cabot Black does in this book of poetry. I must admit that reading poetry is so hard and it took me a very long time to derive a vague meaning from most of the poems. In at least one circumstance, I thought one poem seemed like a re-imagining of an Old Testament bible story until I saw an end note dedicating it to former President George W. Bus ...more
I had forgotten how hard it is to read poetry. I didn't think much of this book until I started reading the poems aloud like a crazy person. (I hope my neighbors enjoyed that, since I was on the balcony!) Still definitely missed a lot of the meaning, but the language was beautiful and there were a few images that really stuck with me.

My favorites:
...each terminal dark
With how today is not tomorrow.
(from "Palms Facing Out and Away From the Body")

...To begin again
Is to have no idea where this wi
Ms. Black needs to use more concrete nouns,and more specific imagery.
One of the finest books of poetry I have read in years!
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Sophie Cabot Black is the author of two previous poetry collections, The Descent, winner of the Connecticut Book Award, and The Misunderstanding of Nature, winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. Her next book, The Exchange, is forthcoming in 2013. Her poems appear in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The Paris Review, among other journals. She lives in New England.
More about Sophie Cabot Black...
The Descent: Poems The Misunderstanding of Nature: Poems Ploughshares Winter 2000-01 : Stories and Poems

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