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Atlas: Poems

4.38  ·  Rating Details ·  140 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Blank verse poems about history, culture, and language. Like a literal road atlas, the poems carry lines and themes from one to the next. Like Atlas holding up the world, they hold patterns of all kinds aloft with an attention that transforms. The poems also are an atlas of the known world, capturing the way events repeat across time and place, as in one poem that links th ...more
Paperback, 78 pages
Published September 30th 2004 by Milkweed Editions
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(showing 1-30)
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Ross Holmes
Mar 31, 2015 Ross Holmes added it
Shelves: poetry
It doesn't seem right to rate this book; in a few months, I'll be studying under Vandenberg, so it feels like giving this book a star rating is somehow presumptuous or arrogant. Her opinion on my writing carries more weight than my opinion on hers.

Nonetheless, this collection is touching and fantastic, and I'm even more excited to start my MFA studies now.
Brian Wasserman
Mar 01, 2017 Brian Wasserman rated it did not like it
another author who thinks their boring life is worth reading about, so many poets are confessionists why confess when the confessions are too terribly boring.. this isnt poetry this is bland prose

Educating Drew
Dec 17, 2011 Educating Drew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetic, 2010
It is no shocking news that I am not a big fan of poetry but this is my year where I am making an effort to step away from my inner child groans and take the plunge.

So, after much hype about Atlas, I picked it up months ago and have been reading it ever since. I'll take a bulleted format for this because my thoughts aren't quite coherent to put together a full-fledged review. Me thinks that reviewing poetry is quite different than reviewing the book!

It took me three months to read Atlas, which
George Robbins
Nov 03, 2011 George Robbins rated it liked it
This small book of poetry has been on my wish list for a while, and I always look for it when I’m in an independent book store. I finally caved and bought it on Amazon along with my pre-order of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I first heard of this book through John’s videos (, and he has mentioned it several times. Although I really enjoy reading poetry, I tend to stick with the classics, so recently I've been trying to find some quality contemporary poetry. I figu ...more
May 30, 2011 Sara rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
The most visceral, affecting part of this collection was the title of a short poem:

I also lingered on the book's closing poem, becoming nostalgic for someone else's past:


Late night July, Minnesota,
John asleep on the glassed-in porch,
Bob Dylan quiet on a cassette

you made from an album
I got rid of soon after
you died. Years later,

I regret giving up
your two boxes of vinyl,
which I loved. Surely

they were too awkward,
Oct 26, 2011 Drac329 rated it liked it
I've always had a hard time finding female poets I connect with. It's petty, I know, but women tend to gravitate towards poems about, well womanly things. Which is fine. But it's done to such a great degree that I find I'm reading an entire book about the tragedy of having breasts, or the oppression by men. Drives me nuts since I don't have an oppressive bone in my body and I feel like I'm being attacked for something I've never done. Katrina was very lyrical and concise. The downside, I found m ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Jason rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
What I can gather from this book of poetry is that Katrina Vandenberg lost a lover when he was young, spent some time in Europe, enjoys tulips, and ultimately married a man named John. There are plenty of poems about these subjects.

I did enjoy some of these poems (Jack O'Lantern, Pesto in August), but this collection did not live up to my expectations.
Oct 19, 2008 Tess rated it really liked it
Surprisingly, I really liked this "book" even though I do not like poetry as a rule, this book of poems was interesting and focused on all sorts of topics. The poems were mostly short and easy to read but tons of fun to pick apart and try to figure out. Great book!
Mar 07, 2013 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
A lovely little book for some muses. There were poems I could and will read over and over again. It's like a spa day for your mind, read it when you want to give your head a break from life. They are weaved together in a seamless order, so once you've started its hard to stop.
Jul 21, 2010 Libby rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I don't think I have ever been so moved by a book of poems. Seriously.
Kasey Jueds
Mar 28, 2013 Kasey Jueds rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I loved the femaleness of this book, especially the first section with its poems about mothers, daughters, grandmothers. Deceptively plain-spoken but moving, thoughtful, full of depth.
Aug 06, 2011 Amber rated it it was amazing
Just so beautiful
Dec 31, 2009 Care marked it as to-read
Chris Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
Apr 17, 2011 Molly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poems
There are some lovely poems of mourning here, of the body and illness, but I especially loved the cheeky poem about her husband's dessert being flirted with at a cafe.
Mar 02, 2014 Jenny rated it it was amazing
This is quite possibly the best collection of poems I've ever read. Compelling from start to finish, beautifully written.
Feb 21, 2009 Virg rated it liked it
Some of these poems feel overwritten, but there's an attention to interesting, less sought after things that I like.
Susan rated it liked it
Jan 19, 2015
Brooks rated it it was amazing
Nov 26, 2016
Corinth rated it it was amazing
Dec 05, 2009
Dan Albergotti
Dan Albergotti rated it it was amazing
Jun 20, 2008
Anna Chung
Anna Chung rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2013
Jenny McDougal
Jenny McDougal rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2011
Leslie rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2007
Asta Nyyssönen
Asta Nyyssönen rated it it was amazing
Apr 20, 2011
Clare rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2013
S.P. Flannery
S.P. Flannery rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2010
Al rated it it was amazing
Dec 21, 2007
Taylor Edwards
Taylor Edwards rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2011
Caitlin Thomson
Caitlin Thomson rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2010
Sandy Longhorn
Sandy Longhorn rated it it was amazing
Sep 07, 2009
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  • Blue Hour
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