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Ours (New California Poetry #24)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  70 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
These poems are about gardens, particularly the seventeenth-century French baroque gardens designed by the father of the form, André Le Nôtre. While the poems focus on such examples as Versailles, which Le Nôtre created for Louis XIV, they also explore the garden as metaphor. Using the imagery of the garden, Cole Swensen considers everything from human society to the forma ...more
Paperback, 118 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Jun 21, 2009 Paula rated it liked it
Recommended to Paula by: Margie Stein
Shelves: poetry
Aspects of Swensen’s book remain problematic for me. Ours left me feeling a bit chilly perhaps because the 17th century formal gardens in and around Paris, particularly the gardens of Versailles, which are the poetry’s pretext, it’s raison-d’être, largely leave me cold as well. Beyond my disaffection for such cultural artifacts of autarchy, it may be the attentiveness to language for its own sake that Swensen’s poetry so artfully enacts that discomfits. I look for fissures and find very few, but ...more
Jun 13, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I've always admired Cole Swensen a lot. I've heard her read, and she has that soothing NPR authority to her voice, and it's in the voice of the poems on the page, too. But sometimes reading her books is like going to a conference in a field not your own. You know everything being said is smart and provocative and influential, but it seems to all happen in someone else's realm of reference and meaning. I've found her scholarliness overrides everything else at times, especially in the last couple ...more
Emily Wolahan
Jun 03, 2009 Emily Wolahan rated it it was amazing
Really excellent. Highly recommended!
Apr 18, 2016 Gavin rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book. Swensen does something interesting here in that she renders her historical narrative somewhere between the lyrical-local of a writer like Claudia Emerson (a poet concerned with the historical of a given place, but weaving complete "fictions" out of the land), and the didactic-local of someone like Susan Suntree (whose poetical-historical, research driven explorations of place push her writing more towards the academic through her novel poetic form).

Swensen does her own researc
Jan 21, 2009 Jay rated it really liked it
Oh snap, are these collages beautiful. Like Goest did for electric light,
this book rummages through history books, found encyclopedia language, and old
odd accounts of human interaction for a book all about, well, French gardens.
Beautiful? Beautiful. Effortless, as light as rice paper. Everything in the New
California Poetry series is worth a look; this is one of my favorites of theirs
Feb 17, 2009 Jesse rated it liked it
So elegant, crystalline but at the same time so very, very cerebral, removed, almost cold.

"Everyone has one gesture or expression
that shows them outside of time,
which is to say, at whatever single second of their lives struck a precise
equilibrium between mind and face (time and space)"
Elizabeth Metzger
Feb 21, 2009 Elizabeth Metzger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: awesome-town
I love this book, I want to move in with this book. I never want to stop reading this book. The words revolve, big and round, and take up the whole space of your mouth. Meaning slips in and it globes, sweetly, smartly, I'm all shiny-eyed and ready to buy this book presents.
May 23, 2008 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fabulous themed collection from Swensen--French gardens filtered through her scalpel-like lyric hand...
Dec 29, 2013 Will rated it really liked it
Nor was I allowed to enter the garden--I stood at its edge and watched it unravel / and waited / for it to arrive. / / A garden is a tide. / / A garden is a tithe.
May 11, 2009 Megan added it
Cole S.' work epitomizes the allure of scholarship; plunge into your subject and emerge, changed. Many lovelinesses here.
Nov 13, 2008 Anthony rated it really liked it
cole swensen is poetry for librarians. this time she's researching seventeenth century french gardens. and so, so gorgeously. i would like to visit an orangery before i die.
Juli Anna
Feb 21, 2014 Juli Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
bleak, distant, mysterious, and scholarly.
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Mar 19, 2008
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Cole Swensen (b. 1955— ) in Kentfield near San Francisco, Swensen was awarded a 2006 Guggenheim Fellowship and is the author of over ten poetry collections and as many translations of works from the French. A translator, editor, copywriter, and teacher, she received her B.A. and M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph. D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa ...more
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