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Colosseum: Poems

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  118 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The visceral new work by Katie Ford, whose poems “possess the veiled brilliance of stained glass windows seen at night” (The New York Times Book Review)



If you respect the dead
and recall where they died
by this time tomorrow
there will be nowhere to walk.
—“Earth”


With gravity and resplendence, Colosseum confronts ruin in the ancient world and in the living moment, from histor
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Paperback, 64 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Graywolf Press
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Community Reviews

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Abraham
Not quite as good as Deposition, which was one of the best books of poetry I've read in ages, but pretty damn potent. The early poems take a while to seem like more than just average poems you might find in a lit journal, and the New Orleans poems are not that exciting, though well written. But the later third of the book really picks up, making you go back and reconsider everything you read the first time. The second read is pretty great.
Lauren
This is a book to hold onto and return to. The language is beautiful and eloquent. It doesn't try to wow you or shock you with its subject matter. Rather, the slow pull of it reveals the layered pain and beauty of Katrina which speaks to so many instances of ruin.
Karen
In Colosseum, Katie Ford writes with such beautiful lyricism that at first, it's easy to forget that her latest collection is about tragedy. However, with a poem such as "Flee" where the narrator dictates "Rarely do I remember another month, August./Rarely another day do I remember" we, as readers, suddenly realize that the work is about disaster; more specifically, Colosseum is about the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

Ford situates this tragic moment in American history among other catastrophes
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Steve
Excepting the outstanding opening poem, “Beirut,” Katie Ford’s new collection, Colosseum, started out pretty weak for me. The opening section, “Storm,” which is about Hurricane Katrina, was filled with what I felt were rather flat, reportage-like poems. But such events can be very hard to write well about. With that in mind, perhaps Ford’s approach is best. Sometimes being a witness is enough – even for a poet. Tell it straight, go light on the Art. Whatever the case, the collection increasingly ...more
Andi
last night I had the privilege of hearing Katie Ford read her work. She has recently been awarded the Lannan Literary Award for her work, which includes two books Deposition and Colosseum. Her reading last night was understated and quiet yet marked with the same kind of subtle power you can feel in the air just before a lightning strike or a big snow storm arrives. She speaks with confidence but not bravado, and it truly was a pleasure hearing her read. One of my favorite poems from Colosseum, “ ...more
Valerie
Katie Ford's collection is about Katrina. I had just recently read the fabulous Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith, so once I realized this book was also about Katrina, I was expecting to be disappointed.

The book was good. It wasn't as good as Blood Dazzler, but that book sets a very high standard. I wish I read this book first, and gave it the full chance that it deserves. Ford's poems are a little cold, but they are beautiful. They are almost too neat and clean in a way. They feel uptight.

I lik
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Lisa
Katie Ford's first book, Deposition, impressed me because of its ability to describe a complex relationship with the divine. In Colosseum, Ford seems more of a Modernist poet, concerned with ruin. She says, "Something please tell me I'm wrong/ about impermanence,/ wrong that there is no unbroken believable thing/ on this earth," and the epigraph of the collection, from H.D.'s "The Walls do Not Fall" sets this theme of ruin in the foreground.

Ford has reason to meditate on ruin--she was living in
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Kent
I don't think this book is about New Orleans. I know it's supposed to be. The central poems in this book, for me, are "Division," "Koi," and "Colisseum," and they don't seem to be about any kind of New Orleans (except for a possible city parallel between Rome and New Orleans), instead they seem to be about two people. A relationship. Especially how the speaker feels about this relationship. Yes, there are more poems that explicitly mention New Orleans, but the mention only feels incidental. Not ...more
B.L. Tucker
"Overture" was one highlight of this collection.
Abraham Hyatt
This is one of the best books of poetry I've picked up this year. And I have no idea how to review it. There is a sadness and an ache in these poems that is executed with brilliant subtly and precision. "Beirut," "The vessel bends the water" and "Overture" are three of a handful of poems I've come back to again and again in the last few days since I've finished this book. I've already bought her other books.
Abe Louise
I admit the bias of being a native New Orleanian. But it is baffling to read a book about the failure of the levees after Hurricane Katrina, but which does not mention race or feature any black folks. Ford's book aestheticizes the experience of evacuating in a way that depoliticizes and dehistoricizes it. I wanted very badly to like it, but I felt empty--and even angry--after reading Colosseum.
Patricia Murphy
I really loved section II, Vessel. Section III, for me, lost some energy. Some language I loved out of Vessel: "Lord of confusion, Lord of great slaughter and thin birds, you could never answer all of us at once." "but we are not like shells, there is no table to set up upon for judgement." "someone misspelled my easy name." "I waited for silence with its boards stripped off."
Katie
I recommend reading this hungover on a bleak day in an unfamiliar city. So, so sad. So heartwrenching. The first section does indeed stand alone as its own chapbook. The rest is like that hangover after a particularly awful evening. The extreme let-down of a disaster-ridden city is palpable in Ford's spare lines. Haunting.
James
When I started reading this collection I had to put it down. These are intense poems. This is not airport reading. This is only a lamp on past midnight at my desk with a bourbon while the wife sleeps reading. That seems the best way to revel in the abandon of the what's presented (to steal a line from Tom Petty.)
Lynnell
Ford puts the aftermath of Katrina into the larger context of our human response to natural and divine tragedy. Occasionally obscure, though the books set of motifs -- water, vessels, fire, earth -- create a satisfying depth.
Shappi
a rather brilliant poetic response to the idea of ruin. it's not all my kind of writing, but where she is sparse she can really pack a punch. "therefore ready yourself/ but do not panic/ you cannot be ready."
Amy
The title poem is particularly satisfying and central to the book. The "Storm" section, of Hurricane Katrina poems, falls short for me (it was previously published as a chapbook).
Angie
These powerful poems detail a personal reaction to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Adrian
Liked the spiritual vibe to the poetry in this one.
Nomi
Remarkably, this is as good as her first, Deposition.
Michael
Oct 18, 2007 Michael marked it as to-read
Something to live for in 2008.
Nina
Tightly written poems
Arielle Lipset
Arielle Lipset marked it as to-read
Oct 30, 2014
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Carolyn Hembree
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