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The Lyrics

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Who was that stranger beside me?
Please forgive me for insisting
It must have been a dream.
No one could survive such happiness.

--from "[Untitled]"

The Lyrics records the days of one seeking knowledge through movement and contingent images--a monastery, a motel, an Irish coastal river--all the while conscious of political and class warfare, of being American, of the need to
Paperback, 80 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Graywolf Press (first published 2007)
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Frustrating. I wanted to like this book a lot more. I love Howe's essays and appreciated the extended form, but found the language a little flat (which is not my jam) and the declarations ("you'd need a science/to name this new species/that survives without language." or "There’s a long pause when a woman and a man/Struggle with equal strength.") and rhetorical questions (“How can this be happening?” “Will a new mistake produce better results?”) to be annoying and/or trite and/or reductionist an ...more
Too hard. My little brain couldn't hold these long sequences, much less the whole book, together. I looked to the back cover for some help and found a little: "each poem is a lament formed in a place of rest." But is there rest? This speaker and these poems seem to walk around to so many disparate places, through different religions and ethics, with always an eye for social and political critique (often Marxist). I tried to take a cue from the title and read these strange poems as trying to get ...more
I admire the breadth of idea in the book, and the continuity of intent, at least in the sense that I see scenarios juxtaposed to one another, or complemented as the book goes on. For instance, the situation and tone of "School" getting commented on in "City Limits" with the teacher whose insanity is its own teacher begins to pull the map for this book out. I guess I would have rather seen a bit more of those junctures.

I really enjoy the moments when the speaker gets just a little more discursiv
There were some lovely parts to it but overall scribbling notes in the margins, trying to figure out half of the meanings was too much work.
This gets a mere three stars ONLY by comparison to Fanny Howe's other books of the last decade. Compared to most poetry, it deserves at least eight out of five.
I loved this little book. Beautiful symphonic movements in the body of work.
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from Wikipedia:

Fanny Howe is an American poet, novelist and short story writer.

She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father was a lawyer and her mother, Mary Manning, was born in Dublin and wrote plays and acted for the Abbey Theatre before moving to the United States. Her sister is the poet, Susan Howe and her daughter is the novelist, Danzy Senna[1]

Howe is one of the most widely read of Ame
More about Fanny Howe...
The Wedding Dress: Meditations on Word and Life Selected Poems Gone The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation Come and See

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