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The Babies

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The Babies, by Sabrina Orah Mark, is the premier winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Contest, judged by renowned poet Jane Miller (Memory at These Speeds: New and Selected Poetry). Of The Babies, poet Claudia Rankine writes, Rarely do we encounter poems that are so precisely framed, though on their surface seemingly whimsical and erratic. These poems are gorgeous, intell ...more
Paperback, 67 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Saturnalia Books (first published October 1st 2004)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
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380th out of 1,741 books — 1,890 voters
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57th out of 109 books — 55 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 18, 2008 Richard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A wonderful book of prose poems. This is what I wrote on one of the pages in the book. I will make no claims that it is accurate, but it records part of my experience of the work: "Each perception contains every other possible perception and it's a matter of choosing what to connect to what, and all the implications of those choices are contained in each choice, and orchestrating all these choices is a consciousness that has been through a disorienting trauma...." That trauma is very much connec ...more
Oct 15, 2015 Pete rated it really liked it
"The experiments lasted through the winter" forever. Two separate people told me to read this inside of a week which doesn't happen that often so I took it as a sign from the universe. These poems operate in their own logic -- book is decidedly experimental, not concerned with the traditional kind of sense, yet still manages to be about something. I confess I didn't get the holocaust subtext for a while (the babies are all the babies never born to the six million dead) and there were places wher ...more
Jun 23, 2008 Juliet rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Odd, evocative, unsettling and strangely sensual.
Oct 26, 2007 Mackenzie rated it it was amazing
While much contemporary experimental poetry can be daunting or uninviting to the reader, Sabrina Orah Mark’s first collection, The Babies, preserves its experimentalism while avoiding pretension or obscurity. Much like a ride at a carnival, this book is both scary and fun at the same time while giving the illusion that at any moment, it could completely come undone. Mark manages to remain linguistically innovative while also devastating her reader with surreal imagery at every turn.

Losing a limb
Patricia Murphy
Apr 14, 2014 Patricia Murphy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is fun--it’s one of those times when I read a poem in a lit mag and immediately log on to buy the poet’s books. There I was: innocently reading Black Warrior Review, when a poem by Sabrina Orah Mark knocked my socks off. I really enjoyed this collection. It’s inventive, surprising, yet also deeply felt. That’s a difficult combination with surrealism.

Some of my favorite moments:

“I did not fear them until I wanted to be afraid.”

“It is lonely in a place that can burn so fast.”

“he left me for
Jan 25, 2008 Etan rated it it was amazing
I've never read a book and not been biased. Have you? Of course I'm biased.

Sabrina Orah Mark's marvelous -- and I mean marvelous in both sense of the word -- collection of prose poems in a masterful assimilation of historical specifics into the childlike consciousness of an infinite presence. Rarely do we encounter poems that are so precisely framed, though on their surface seemingly whimsical and erratic. These poems are gorgeous, intelligent, and disturbing. They are owned by the imagination
Apr 06, 2008 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: serious poets, carnies
Shelves: poetry
I started this book last year, and for whatever reason, just couldn't get into it. i wasn't in the right mindset or mood to receive the poetry. but this time around, something clicked and i feel it's one of the most exciting books of poetry i've read in awhile. you might be thinking, jesus lauren, you say that for every book of poetry you read. but this one is worth your time, i swear. it's creepy, delicate, surprising, full of terror and tenderness. I have a feeling that if i had been in worksh ...more
Sep 10, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
S. Orah Mark, along with Mark Wunderlich has also been very influential to my growth as a poet. Her otherworldly views of nature have mixed with my own views of nature in literature and have have tied in that natural or supernatural spirituality with human relationships. She often works in prose, a format that I am quite fond of, but am not sure if I will ever be able to master at her infinitely proficient level.
Aug 04, 2008 Todd rated it it was amazing
A perfect example of someone who "makes" instead of "describes," Sabrina Mark's first collection (published by Saturnalia... it's a damn purty-lookin' book too) is probably my favorite book of prose poems EVAH. Weird, intriguing, mysteriously and lovely, seemingly able to work against itself and with itself, the mythology in Mark's book churns and rediscovers... a house with many doors.
Mar 18, 2008 Richard rated it it was amazing
this book is fascinating. A brilliant imagination, brilliant music. I haven't read anything like it before.
Gary McDowell
Jan 10, 2008 Gary McDowell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-ones
Getting ready to teach this.
Will Redd
Jun 28, 2013 Will Redd rated it really liked it
This was required reading for one of my poetry classes in college. Not sure we ever actually used it in the class.

I find it hard to accurately review poetry. It is a visceral, emotional experience that is unique to the reader, so how can one properly put into words those emotional responses in any proper context to others?

One of the key components of good poetry is to spur the imagination, to inspire. And I can definitely say that Sabrina Orah Mark inspires and spurs the imagination with this co
Dec 02, 2007 Michael rated it it was ok
i'm just starting to seriously learn about poetry. i'm having a hard time understanding the separation of the categories "poetry" and "brain barf."

this book, i would say, falls in the latter category. still, the product of an interesting brain... if this book were all the pages she had torn out of her journal so that they would not be subjected to criticism, i would be really interested to see what she was working on the rest of the time. echoes of ben marcus (associative patterns) and stacey l
Jun 30, 2008 Mia rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"The milk is mildly foxed. The sky, too, is mildly foxed. And it is wonderful to see the dexterity with which the dark beak hangs on, although it, too, is mildly foxed. As are the woods. As is the fox. We are all mildly foxed. Even Mama. Even Mama is mildly foxed."
Will Walton
Jun 13, 2014 Will Walton rated it it was amazing
Sabrina Orah Mark writes my favorite kind of poetry. Abstract, crypto-confessional flights of fancy and/or frenzy. Beautiful, sometimes scary.
Jeune Fille
Aug 17, 2014 Jeune Fille rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
this is one of my favorite works of poetry. clever, spooky, secretive, sabrina orah mark has perfected it.

here is one of the poems in it:
Jul 20, 2008 Shaindel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poets/surrealists
Recommended to Shaindel by: sent by the publisher b/c I entered the same contest
An excellent prose poetry collection. Will write more when I look at it again; it's been a few years.
Noah rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2007
Anna DunLany
Anna DunLany rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2012
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Sep 01, 2008
Zachary rated it it was amazing
Mar 28, 2016
Anne Sanow
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Feb 19, 2008
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Feb 27, 2009
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Sabrina Orah Mark grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Sabrina Orah Mark earned a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in English from the University of Georgia. She is the author of the book-length poetry collections The Babies (2004), winner of the Saturnalia Book Prize chosen by Jane Miller, and Tsim Tsum (2009), as well as the chapbook Walt ...more
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