Blue Hour
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Blue Hour

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  238 ratings  ·  26 reviews
"Blue Hour is an elusive book, because it is ever in pursuit of what the German poet Novalis called 'the [lost] presence beyond appearance.' The longest poem, 'On Earth,' is a transcription of mind passing from life into death, in the form of an abecedary, modeled on ancient gnostic hymns. Other poems in the book, especially 'Nocturne' and 'Blue Hour,' are lyric recoveries...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 16th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published March 4th 2003)
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Candy Burkett
Ethereal Travel into the Blue Hour

A dying body appears keenly aware of its soul tugging free and submerging into the space that is held for souls escaping the living and transitioning into the spiritual realm. The poems in Carolyn Forché’s book, Blue Hour, are guided by a female narrator, who passes in and out of consciousness during her recollections of memories and reality. Forché’s poetry reveals the narrator’s ability to examine the past, to exist in the present, and to foresee the future. I...more
Laurel Perez
This collection was not at all what I thought it might be, it was better in many ways. The first few poems were lovely, and I found myself ruminating over lines here & there that were especially provocative. However, what really takes the cake is the 47 page poem "On Earth" which sounds like an environmental diatribe, but oh no no, it is not. It is a close look at humanity. The hymn quality and the alphabetical stringencies of the form make this poem even more fantastic and epic in proportio...more
Mcatania21
Blue Hour’s “On Earth” uses abecedarian to organize random moments in time. Each line acts as a snip-its of life observations. While abecedarians were traditionally used “for sacred compositions, such as prayers, hymns, and psalms,” this poem acts as an antithesis to religion. It questions God’s motives. While each line contains its own distinct thought, the poem is held together by the repetition of a letter or phrase in the beginning of each line. The first abecedarian set starts with “a” obse...more
Jeremy Allan
The difficulty of giving a book a rating goes without saying, but Forché's Blue Hour presents an extra challenge; the volume only collects 11 poems, including a 47-page abecedarium. How to rate a book with any precision when ¾ of it are dedicated to a single piece? I doubt there is a way.

All the same I enjoyed this book and want to rate it well. I think it finds Forché returning to a more lyric sensibility than in the volumes immediately before it, and I think her political project benefits from...more
Kat
Another one of those books that makes me worry that I don't actually like poetry. Forché gives me a line or three per page that really strike me, but I would have to work harder than I apparently want to in order to understand what she is talking about beyond the fact that she has known someone(s?) who died. She plays with the boundary between comprehensible description of reality and abstract imagery, and her transitions between the two are so frequent and seamless that I find it pretty hard to...more
Rachelle Smith
Ghosts, windows, gauze and more all all symbols to explain the Blue Hour. I have my own theory even though she states her own but I believe there is more than that. It is a sad, realistic and haunting for a lack of a better word, book. It makes me kind of sad but I appreciate it because it has the ability to stir an emotion in me. It is well written and you must decipher her meaning but to the point of interest and not frustration. Its a puzzle you would like to complete and are able to figure o...more
Nicola
This book is unlike anything I've ever read. The 45-page, gnostic-abcederian "On Earth" is haunting and masterful. This is a list at its best and most forceful. As certain motifs and words reappeared, a tension arose for me between witnessing and repeating. Such recording, of course, is essential, but devastating. Certain of Forche's lines helped me read her: “a random life caught in a net of purpose” (16); “as any new act inflicts its repetition” (32); “as the fence has recorded the wind” (33);...more
Julie
Dec 06, 2009 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of poetry
Shelves: poetry
I really liked this book of poetry by Carolyn Forche. I found it at my local library and it contains the poems and writings Carolyn was working on when she passed.

I found some of the poems had almost a mystical quality to them, hauntingly sad & melodic.

This was my first book of poetry I have read by Carolyn Forche - I will probably try to get more books by her in the future.

Myron
Jan 14, 2008 Myron rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: err-body
Recommended to Myron by: the academy of american poets
How does one approach death? the same way one approaches life, I guess. Question after Question to see that what isn't is. I recommend Carolyn Forche's BLUE HOUR to anyone who has lost anything, who has seen or felt the spirit of the deceased or another world. This book of poetry is other-worldly and human with suffering. And the Abecedarian "On Earth" is to die for; pun intended;)
Kathy
The long poem "On Earth" is luscious and amazing. Worth the whole book and more.
Alicia
The form of this book blows my mind. Very imagistic, complicated, and above all, accomplished... Forche has quickly become one of my favorite poets since I started writing poetry seriously. "The Country Between Us" is incredible, but this one offers something equally inspiring on a completely different level.
Satia
I couldn't finish this collection of poetry because I am too plebian to appreciate what Forche is doing. I know the appreciation of poetry can be highly subjective. After trying to read a collection like this, I inevitably start questioning my ability as a writer and find myself uninspired and unable to write.
Andrea
Now THIS is a strange book. I love Forche (as many of you know already) so I've read this book a million times, but I still don't get. And sometimes the 1,000 line poem loses my interest. So if you can explain what's going on to me, I would REALLY appreciate it :)
Melissa
"we are so made that nothing contents us"

"Bring night to your imaginings. Bring the darkest passage of your holy book."

And that final abecedarian. It is something else, truly. I like what she thinks poetry can do.
Travis
5 stars full and brimming over. cannot say enough about it. too good to say anything really. i am in awe. this is perhaps best poetry i have read in my entire life. and she is an amazing woman. i will say no more.
Celeste
Longer prose poems than in the COUNTRY BETWEEN US. Enjoying the change in poetic structure. Her voice is edgy, image-specific, no "poetiky" gunk. Good voice.
Elle
She tackles political oppression and motherhood in this volume, writing on the Holocaust and France's relationship with its pertinent history.
Carissa
No rating because I just couldn't get into it, but there were some really beautiful lines, and I'm going to come back to it at some point.
Megan RFA
There were some beautiful poems in this book, but she lost me with the ten pages of alphabetized lines. I found it a bit of a cop out.
Dawn
If I have to listen to Carolyn Forche read again I will blow things out of my sinuses in squealishly blue bits.
Kristin
Seems very like Dickinson, subdued, yet also Whitmanesque--especially the long poem "On Earth." Fabulous book.
Stacy
I love Carolyn Forche. She is a wonderful poet. This book is another example of her talent.
Cindy Huyser
What a great book of poetry. "The Earth" alone is stunning. Well worth the reader's time.
Greg
say what????
Onnyx
Onnyx marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
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Carolyn Forché was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1950. She studied at Michigan State University and earned an MFA from Bowling Green State University. Forché is the author of four books of poetry: Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2004); The Angel of History (1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award; The Country Between Us (1982), which received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di C...more
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