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3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  44 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Vellum, the exquisite debut collection from Matt Donovan, meditates on beauty, art, and the violence that is sometimes inherent in both.
Here, he juxtaposes religious iconography with stories from history, biography, and personal narrative. In the poignant “Saint Catherine in an O,” a knife bears unlikely duality—an object stirring with danger and grace.
“A man plays slide g
Paperback, 80 pages
Published April 7th 2007 by Mariner Books
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Matthew Hittinger
Oct 14, 2007 Matthew Hittinger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I picked up this book after reading the first poem (which is rare for me, to have something leap out in such a way) and after noticing a nice list of "notes" at the back (nothing like a well-researched book of poems in conversation with other sources to whet my appetite), and finished it in one sitting (I'll admit, I couldn't put it down). With so many book awards out there I often am let down by the "winner", but I can honestly say this book clearly deserved to win the Bakeless Prize (recognizi ...more
May 25, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it
Beautiful, of the Jorie Graham school of muzzy transcendence and free association between the concrete and the abstract. (OK, I don't know if that's a school, but I like Jorie Graham and this reminds me of her work.) But it's a little more muscular than Graham, a little more rooted in slang and ordinariness. There are some striking images here, and a confident, often playful, use of language.

The vellum of the title is the material on which scribes tried to capture the Real, and then later scrape
Andrew Wright
Feb 04, 2016 Andrew Wright rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
Contemporary poetry is so unfathomably dense sometimes. This book of poetry is not always that unassailable. Yet it feels distant at times. Donovan seems to have a catalog type of reservoir of worldly knowledge and observation to draw from which is perhaps the most pleasurable aspect of the book. I learned more about early photography, Houdini, Doyle, Montezuma, etc... through this book than I did glean something emotional about the author.
Feb 21, 2008 dana rated it really liked it
This book kind of knocked my socks off--so rich with language, place, the act of naming and fascinating juxtapositions of image. All with an honest, real tone that draws you into an incredible tornado of association and meanings

Huh. That sounds kind of poetry-fluffy.

Anyway, I really really liked this. Even if Donovan's Audubon poem is better than mine!
Karlo Mikhail
Dec 05, 2013 Karlo Mikhail rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Liked 5 or 6 of the around 30 poems in the collection (particularly "Montezuma's Painters'" "Line," and "Pulling Down the Sky"). But found the rest too erudite, too focused on the aesthetic, too confined to the cultural realm, too divorced from social practice, from the material struggles of the people.
May 30, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
I admire the long poems here, but too many of the ideas which start them fizzle out by the end. Not nearly as cohesive as Levis's, which this is surely influenced by. Still, a solid collection.
May 16, 2012 h rated it liked it
Shelves: library, poetry, 2012
dense and lovely narrative poems that often end up in an unexpected place. the language is sometimes sneakily deep and sometimes a bit painfully obvious. solid poems.
Nick Pappas
Mar 19, 2008 Nick Pappas rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who want to break into poetry
Shelves: poetry
A great book on poetry that is easy to enter. This guy knows just about everything there is to know about everything. Hell of a nice guy too.
Tattered Cover Book Store
signing at the store 9-8-08
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