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World's Tallest Disaster: Poems

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  193 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Cate Marvin uses language the way a gymnast uses her body; she is a formalist who has thoroughly learned the pleasures and gains of abandon. But it is her excursions into wild image and passionate song that win the reader's heart. The heart is central in World's Tallest Disaster, which is essentially a book of love poems—love lost and found, love requited, love abandoned a ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Sarabande Books
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Sep 17, 2008 C rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"...I meant to take
the sky here and play it as lover, but what use
do I have for metaphor? It always placed a thing
between me and another..."


"Why have I likened everything to element? Now
to be reconciled, to acknowledge a lie: it's not
the sky that has such terrible, beautiful weather."

Emily Wolahan
Feb 17, 2009 Emily Wolahan rated it liked it
Heavy on the love story and the "I" but extremely tight writing and exciting line structure.
Feb 01, 2016 Shay rated it liked it
Based on the title and cover alone, I expected a book about 9/11. That isn't what I got, but what I did get was a gripping personal tale of womanhood, motherhood, and long distance relationships that turned out to be even better than what I expected.
Mar 21, 2008 Babble rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like contemporary poetry and have the stomach for an anti love poem.
Shelves: poetry
There once was a book of love, not love, unlove, loving, love poems. They were in a book of poetry called, World's Tallest Disaster. They were written by a clever, articulate, witty, woman named, Cate Marvin. Consider the following excerpt:

A Brief Attachment ...

I regard your affection, find your teeth have
left me a bruise necklace. The lipstick marks
leech a trail, ear to ear, facsimile your smile.
Your 40 ounces of malt beverage, your shrink
hate, your eyes dialing 911.

This woman fell in love with
Jan 28, 2015 h rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2015
somewhere between 3.5 and 4.

take a deep breath before diving.
Apr 14, 2009 Talia rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The first Cate Marvin I read was the more recent, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, and it is similar and different at the same time. This one seems a bit sloppy in spots, but almost all poems have something fantastic, incredible, and worthy of the 2002 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. There are a lot of juvenile rhymes throughout the book also, but Marvin is someone I find incredibly intruiging.

I picked up this book just a block off of the University of Cincinnati campus, where she is a PHD candidate
Sep 20, 2012 Glen rated it liked it
Spirited, but uneven collection, with lots of interesting wordplay and some powerful imagery. The overall mood of the collection is somewhat depressive, at times angry, which was a little off-putting for me, but that says more about me than the collection I suppose. It is a short book, but in the end I found it a little short on beauty, though long on emotion.
Apr 03, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it
Edgy without being cutting or consciously provocative, Cate Marvin is a pleasure to read. I want to get my hands on her latest collection, but this was the only one available at the New York Public Library.
Feb 21, 2012 Lily rated it really liked it
I remember loving this book a long, long time ago after a breakup. In my memory, it is angry and visceral. It's not something I want to read again but am glad I had it when I did.
Rebecca Lehmann
Aug 24, 2009 Rebecca Lehmann rated it really liked it
I read "Fragment of the Head of a Queen" first, and like it better, although there are some fantastic poems in this book.
Sep 25, 2012 Greta rated it liked it
Cate Marvin is a new poet for us, and can be very interesting when heard out loud. We'll be hearing from her more,I bet.
Sarabande Books
Jan 22, 2010 Sarabande Books rated it it was amazing
Winner of the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, selected by Robert Pinsky
Mar 20, 2008 Ellen added it
Shelves: want-to-read
As seen here.
Aug 27, 2007 Samantha rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: poets
cate marvin is the prettiest poet alive.
jojo the burlesque poetess
my amazing mentor this semester!
Cindy marked it as to-read
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Andre Habet
Andre Habet rated it liked it
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Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Apr 28, 2016
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Christian Oehrlein
Christian Oehrlein rated it it was ok
Mar 10, 2016
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Cate Marvin's first book, World's Tallest Disaster, was chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, she received the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. Her poems have appeared in The New England Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Fence, The Paris Review, The Cincinnati Review, Slate, Verse, Boston Review, and Ninth Letter. She is co-edit ...more
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