Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions
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Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  18 reviews
This year's winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Maurice Manning's Lawrence Booth's Book of Visions. These compelling poems take us on a wild ride through the life of a man child in the rural South. Presenting a cast of allegorical and symbolic, yet very real, characters, the poems have "authority, daring, [and] a language of color and sure movement",...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published July 11th 2001 by Yale University Press (first published July 1st 2001)
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This is one of the most astounding books of poetry I have ever read. From its compelling first words ("Sheepish as a far off echo, Lawrence Booth wades/into the Great Field and the wide-yawning night") to its stunning final image ("Here come the crows!"), this book is sublime. There's not a single wrong note here. The characters, their voices, are so true, so exactly themselves. Though form and style vary from voice to voice and poem to poem, Manning maintains a powerful economy of language thro...more
Like John Berryman's "The Dream Songs" if William Faulkner wrote them. Very southern in its vocabulary, images, and metaphors. I liked how all the poems operated within this one strictly defined world. Weird, colorful, somewhat surreal, somewhat narrative book. Most appealing to me was how Manning invented this "language" of the South and stuck to his own rules. Pretty awesome.
Mar 20, 2007 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boys, girls, America
Shelves: amazingpoems
Simply the most startling and original poems I've read in a long time. Utterly fine and wild.
I liked it! To my mind, though, Atsuro Riley's "Romey's Order" is perhaps a more stylistically interesting book in the same genre.
Aug 13, 2008 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Eric by: Carol
This is poetry, not that stuffy Brit. lit., snooty poetry but salt of the earth poetry. I finally fished this pretty short book but only because I had to keep myself from reading it all in one sitting. It has voice and word choice and all of those things. The vocabulary is a little peculiar as it is written in a kind of Southern black sharecropper voice but it feels just right. I know I am not doing the book justice in this short review, but even if you are not a big poetry fan like myself, go r...more
Overall an interesting read. The book of poems is loosely cohesive, telling the story of Lawrence Booth, "the bull's-eye boy" featuring an interesting set of characters with names like "Mad Daddy", "Black Damon" and "Red Dog". At times the strangeness of the book was bordering on being too obtuse but choice lines really stand out and shine such as:

"For now, the whispery world is full of honeybees and clover; it is a very sleepy time and he has so many sleepy days ahead, plus some terrible ones....more
I ordered this book after reading a poem from it in the New Yorker.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that Maurice Manning is a dear friend, but, as a trained journalist, can say objectively that he's a marvelous poet.

I thought this book was astounding, and it completely blew me away. Thoughtful, humorous and insightful with a clear delight for language, reading Manning makes me realize I'll never be as smart as he is. Which is perfectly ok by me.
It's like Spoon River meets Berryman's Dream Songs. And in that light I like getting to know Booth, and seeing how multiple poems can color him with an inscrutable complexity. My favorite poems, though, are where the images get pushed so that Booth's life is more than just the expected difficulty. I'm thinking especially of "Allegory," where he becomes a tree, and eventually gets made into paper for "garish political tracts."
Very good book of contemporary poetry. I really enjoyed the narrative that unified the collection. Beautifully and uniquely written.
Kim Lohse
A fantastic book that experiments with form--and by form, I mean beyond the classical we associate with poetry. Yes, there are sonnets, but in drawl, and there is also a poem in the form of a mathematical proof as well as a poem in the form of a legal document. It is a poetry book, which reads like a novel, except that it reads like no such thing.
Imaginative, whimsical, heartbreaking, this collection of poems was, on every level, a joy to read. The language was precise and gorgeous; the narratives were compelling; the forms were varied and experimental. I really enjoyed this.
Unique forms. Engrossing. Mythic. Would like to use as a text in my creative writing class.
great's got the language as well. i see why people love this one.
Sherry Chandler
Strange and wonderful. An antic book by a romantic poet.
Jun 20, 2007 henry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody with a brain
Shelves: poetry
NOBODY does it like a country boy. 7 stars really....
it's so fucking gorgeous
Dec 06, 2010 Jimmy added it
way dug it.
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MAURICE MANNING, the author of four collections of poetry, was awarded the 2009 Hanes Poetry Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His first book, Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, was selected by W. S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Manning, a former writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, teaches at Indiana University and Warren Wilson C...more
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