Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Colosseum: Poems” as Want to Read:
Colosseum: Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Colosseum: Poems

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  123 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.

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

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Colosseum, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Colosseum

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsBreaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerThe Host by Stephenie MeyerThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferCity of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Best Books of 2008
413th out of 1,414 books — 6,796 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 205)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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."
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.
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.)
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.
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."
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).
These powerful poems detail a personal reaction to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Liked the spiritual vibe to the poetry in this one.
Remarkably, this is as good as her first, Deposition.
Oct 18, 2007 Michael marked it as to-read
Something to live for in 2008.
Tightly written poems
Wert marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2015
Destroydecay marked it as to-read
Feb 21, 2015
Natfoxxfiends marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2015
Cadence Pentheny
Cadence Pentheny marked it as to-read
Jan 16, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fragment of the Head of a Queen: Poems
  • The Light the Dead See: Selected Poems
  • The End of the West
  • M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A
  • Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields
  • My Alexandria
  • The Good Thief
  • The Pajamaist
  • Human Dark with Sugar
  • Granted
  • Indeed I Was Pleased with the World
  • Blind Huber
  • Holy Land
  • National Anthem
  • Radial Symmetry
  • Elegy
  • I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems
  • Please
Deposition: Poems Blood Lyrics: Poems Second Thyme Around Poetry (Poetry, November 2012, Volume 201, Number 2) The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets

Share This Book