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Wideawake Field: Poems

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The chairs have come in and the crisp yellow thwock of the ball being hit says somehow, now that it's fall, I'm a memory of myself. My whole old life--I mourn you sometimes in places you would have been.""" ""--October" The poems in this fierce debut are an attempt to record what matters. As a reporter's dispatches, they concern themselves with different forms of desolatio ...more
Hardcover, 76 pages
Published May 15th 2007 by Farrar Straus Giroux
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Ron Christiansen
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I'm not a huge poetry reader but since I got free copy and was able to speak briefly with the author and found her quite engaging, I gave it a read--also the individual poems and collection were both quite short. And...I enjoyed it reading by the fire on a cool early summer evening out in my backyard.

Favorite lines:

From "What Went Wrong": "We handle each other/ with too much gentleness,/ like eggs,/ to be born elsewhere and later."

From "Arrest": "...How human we are,/ the tender, puncturing ski
Not my cup of tea, I guess, although I appreciate how this poet focuses on the external more than the internal. I picked the book on a lark at Strand Books because of the title and cover pic.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I fell into "Ruins" a few months back, one of the poems not in this anthology, and it clung to me until I tracked down more of Griswold's work. "Wideawake Field" added a few more stanzas to follow after. Highly recommended! Griswold's collection is half emotional deconstruction and half "observed horror"; as a wartime journalist AND a poet, her subject matter is unusual (at least to me), and she brings unsettling, uplifting insight to fury, healing, separation, and purposeful work.

Two quick, fa
Jul 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: po-eh-tree
Wideawake Filed was good, but not great. Eliza introduces a handful of moments that are striking and unexpected; she's able to relate internal feelings with external places and has a strong sense of the worlds around her. While many of these poems are crafted carefully, others lack solidity. Some are alive and breathing but others seem to be sleeping, or trying too hard. This was not a horrible collection of poetry- before judging I think it's best to read it for yourself. Personally I was expec ...more
Dec 30, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Overall the language in these poems fell flat. The few poems that seemed richer were the ones that dealt with Griswold's time as a war correspondent. These particular poems have something emotional at stake where most of the others point at some kind of a romantic difficulty that just isn't that compelling. Griswold's strong suit isn't the beautiful line, or image captured so perfectly your torso goes cold: the kind of poetry I prefer (see Franz Wright). According to blurbs on the book, her stre ...more
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
These succinct poems by a journalist show a concern with world politics but mostly because of how those politics reflect or impact the personal. The tight, profound pieces remind me of Kay Ryan, with a bit more narrative material/context attached. The way Griswold moves through a poem (or the sudden epiphany line at the end) can start to feel repetitive, but I had the urge to reread many of these poems once I'd finished them, and I intend to reread the entire book. ...more
Tricia Madden
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was at a reading with the author last week and am still drunk on her poems. The poems and stories behind them stick with you. Eliza is an amazing writer with such purpose. I felt transported to the time and space she writes about. I can't wait until her upcoming article & book on Afghan landay comes out! ...more
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very powerful poems, some about tragic things, others more light. Well written. A good read-aloud book.
Jul 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: female, poetry, year-2000s
I wasn't impressed with this book, I just thought it was kinda safe and boring. ...more
Jul 19, 2007 rated it liked it
it was good, but not great. She had some interesting turns of phrase and some good metaphors, but I expected it to be more coherent.
Amy Smith
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I learned about Eliza Griswold after reading an article she wrote for the New Yorker. It turns out that in addition to an internationally recognized reporter and author, she's also a poet. I read Wideawake Field while listening to Amity and Prosperity on audiobook. In her poems, I see language as delivering more about her experiences - traveling, reporting, being away from home, and back again - than language could in other forms. It surprises me now that more journalists don't write poetry. How ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, poetry-2020
I am not sure how I managed to select this poetry book, but it flowed so perfectly following my reading of Apeirogon! This work of poems was written by a journalist and it is a fascinating (but at times harsh) look at life in war zones... in refugee camps...

Some of the poems that spoke to me: Epithalamion, Pure, Leisurama, Occupation, and Beyond the solace of a Devastated Landscape.

By itself, I am not sure how I would feel about these poems... but coupled with the reading of Apeirogon, they ar
Janée Baugher
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A debut collection of poems brought out by a stellar publisher. The author was heretofore known for her prose writing. On topics of war and romantic love (journalist's background, being out in the field). These poems are short and lack rich imagery that I myself seek. Do they end too abruptly to transcend their own large margins? ...more
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly my favorite journalist. Is that even possible? I love the poems, the journalism...all of it.
Paula Dembeck
The is a collection of poems by an investigative journalist who has spent time in the Middle East. The title, “Wideawake” seems to be the anthem that calls us to her pieces as she insists we pay strict attention to what she wants to show us. She is focused on scenes from a world gone awry and is determined to document them and bring them to our attention, because although they are far away they still matter. But there are personal places that have been thrown asunder as well and these can house ...more
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Eliza shared so much of herself in this collection of poetry- some of it was quite hard to read, on an emotional level.

She has a relaxed and easy style, with an approachable use of language and vocabulary, but several of the poems require re-reading and they all require a lot of thought. Nothing to be taken lightly in this collection.
Jul 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
about 5 good poems very odd book
Patrick Duggan
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Jul 14, 2008
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Dec 06, 2007
Hank Kalet
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Oct 20, 2012
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Jun 17, 2010
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Dec 30, 2007
Liam Malone
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Jul 07, 2010
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Nov 13, 2010
Christina M Rau
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Jan 07, 2012
Marion Walters
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Mar 19, 2013
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Nov 14, 2019
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Oct 17, 2020
Randy Cauthen
rated it it was ok
Jan 10, 2013
Alex Melton
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Jul 30, 2007
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Eliza Griswold is an American journalist and poet. She was a fellow at the New America Foundation from 2008 to 2010 and won a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


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