Heavenly Questions: Poems
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Heavenly Questions: Poems

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Heavenly Questions, the first new collection of poems from Gjertrud Schnackenberg since her critically acclaimed The Throne of Labdacus, finds her at the height of her talents and showcases her continued growth as an artist. In six long poems, Schnackenberg’s rhyme-rich blank verse, with its densely packed images, shifts effortlessly between the lyric and the epic, setting...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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I may come back to this review over the weekend. I've admired Schnackenberg's poetry over the years, but this collection, her most personal (which is about the death of her husband, the philosopher Robert Nozick) is a difficult and complicated read. Part of the problem may be with me, since GS draws considerably on the Bhagavad Gita, a work I'm unfamiliar with. Still, I sense a gulf here that's never really bridged. These poems (6 very long poems) work best when GS is in the hospital room with h...more
First read Ms Schnackenberg in an Atlantic Monthly magazine. I was amazed by her poem submitted to that issue and waited for October for the the book edition. She did not disappoint - lovely lovely accessible poems. It's a slender volume and very beautiful. I plan to read more of her poems and soon.
Loss held to the light, examined down to the microscopic levels, the imagery becomes more wonderful; the sadness becoming not simpler but complex exponentially, ten-fold in its overwhelming power. In the gauzy, floating aftermath of tragedy, this is the clear-eyed witness who recalls the details no one else would (or could) consent to remember.

“Black curtains sewn from bolts of consciousness
Are held aside by seraphs in black corners:
A stream of flowing atoms, held aside.
The presentation of a hi...more
Jim Elkins
At last, a poet with no trace of ADD. Schnackenberg thinks, and writes, and re-writes, at the level of the page, the long poem, and the book, always thinking of the resonance of lines that will be echoed or repeated hours or days later. It reminds me of Newman's remarks in the Sonata books that a sense of large-scale form is the rarest quality among the 18th and 19th century composers he studied. It's wonderful enough that Schnackenberg has a sense of large-scale form: and the sense she has is a...more
A short and beautiful book of poetry centered around the author/narrator's loss of her husband to cancer. Rife with allusion (I had to go running for my concise OED and Bulfinch's Mythology a few times) this is a wonderful series of poems and could be quite comforting in your grieving. Don't read on cross-country flights.
Devastating, strange, and intellectually-driven, this is a different side of Schnackenberg: more abstract/philosophical and, somehow, thankfully, more personal.
Oct 30, 2013 Tara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Wow. I didn't know poetry could do what she does here. Both inspiring and intimidating.
Anne Marie
Absolutely stunning. Emotionally and formally brilliant.
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Poetry Readers Ch...: Fusiturricula Lullaby, by Gjertrud Schnackenberg 3 22 Jun 18, 2012 08:47AM  
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