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System of Ghosts

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize

“System of Ghosts explores frontiers vanishing and gone. With a restless intelligence, Lindsay Tigue’s poems seek to know, to measure, to recover histories nearly lost. In these pages the world and the self are fantasized, destroyed, shared like an orange, abandoned like a rough draft, as unforgettable as the dead.”—Traci Brimhall, Our Lady o
Paperback, 84 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by University Of Iowa Press
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  45 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Es Summer
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, poetry
*ARC kindly received by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was like a ghost itself,
Its presence so thinly,
Like a faint whisper of the wind,
A fleeting thought passing by,
You feel something, but it's so half-hearted, that it doesn't register.

I am an emotional reader. A sensitive reader.
I don't read informative books much, because they bore me. I want words that touch me on some deeper level. I want a connection with the main narrator, the story or the author.
I want to thin
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rake your palm through tree rot. /Rub its umber matter against your shins. /Seek silence that fills with pine trunk creak. /And after you settle in this shifting, lose / largeness. Lose any sense of it at all. from For the Ghost You Might Become

I was reading the novel Lions by Bonnie Nadzam while reading System of Ghosts. Had I consciously tried to couple up books according to subject matter I couldn't have found a better match. One of the things that resonated with me most in both Nadzam's no
Apr 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, reviewed
In Chernobyl,
wolves have returned, roaming
the unpeopled streets. My friend
tells me this as if she knows
it's what I need to hear.

This poetry collection is one that builds; it wasn't exactly that I found myself bored in the first section, just wanting more. There was good poetry there, but nothing brilliant, nothing striking. I felt like I was waiting for something.

But as it went on, it gathered momentum. The poems held more weight, more depth. I was surprised, and amused, by the cleverness of
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I loved this preview copy of this Iowa Poetry Prize winning book I received from Net Galley. I liked it enough, I'll probably pick up a paper copy. It was a lot more subtle than much of the poetry that I've read over the last few years. I did find myself going back and rereading a poem and getting something a little new out of it. At first, I thought it was a little impersonal, but as I read a poem again, I saw a little more of a life and experiences reflected in the places that the poems are th ...more
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am amazed by the careful precision in Tigue's work, which, when paired with her earnest questioning (of self and other), makes for an incredibly compelling read. So much of this book is attempting to construct meaning and memory in place, or environment, and what happens when that environment is not cared for any more, becomes abandoned. These constructions touch down, and touch down hard in their juxtaposition with the particular, the personal. I catch my breath at: "Rake your palm through tr ...more
Andrew Payton
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Every time Tigue jumps from the personal to the historical, fusing the supposedly unrelated, the reader is asked to notice the fine webs that connect these details--to pay heed to the things we say, the glances, the photographs, the coats of paint all existing and not existing at once. It is as if she has thrown a party of buffalo hunters, mothers, heart-breakers, French neighbors, and inventors in an abandoned shack on rising river bank and asked all these heroes and villains to reconcile their ...more
Joseph Spuckler
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
System of Ghosts by Lindsay Tigue is the 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize winning collection. Tigue was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and has received a James Merrill fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University and is a current Ph.D. student in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. For the 2015 to 2016 academic year, she will serve as assistant to the editors at the G ...more
Nicholas Broussard
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Simple, flowing, empathetic... altogether delightful. Rogue expresses human emotions clearly, allowing the reader to partake in her journey. Observational though insightful, each poem transports one to a time and place not new but seen differently. She’s easy to breeze through, and can be read repeatedly and still enjoyed.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-book-log
"When I told you about subduction, / I slipped, said seduction. That's what / this is. But you know that."

"It's not like I can decide / to feel differently but here / goes."

"I don't / want to remember the missing. Most of all, / let me lose those stone-frozen eyes-- / how the man I loved looked saying: I / never really wanted you."
Hannah Warren
Apr 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tigue's poems seek to recover fading histories, to address lost natural history. She speaks of haunting and haunted landscapes, her language readily accessible and devastating.

“I move to Georgia
and a new friend can’t find
a place to get married, to celebrate.
All this land scares her with its
present and haunt hate
its tragedy everywhere and
Karen Craigo
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever taken a test in a dream? You show up in dream-class and discover there’s a major exam that day, worth most of your grade, and you’d forgotten about it—didn’t study.

Panic sets in. You look at the questions, and nothing about them seems familiar. You begin to wonder how you could have missed so much. You’re not even sure if the test is in your language.

Lindsay Tigue’s Iowa Poetry Prize-winning collection, System of Ghosts (University of Iowa Press, 2016), feels like the answer key to
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book. Tigue writes with reserve and complexity about the subjects most important and most unspeakable. Beneath each finely-crafted line is a rage, anxiety, sadness, and longing that creeps into the reader's heart, charging the most minor of details with wonder. ...more
Chaitali Sen
Jun 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved how this poetry collection was so engaged with the world. Bits of history as well as newsy information were so well integrated with all kinds of personal reflections on loss, mourning, joy, and curiosity. I felt like this collection was written for me and how my mind works.
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Lindsay Tigue is the author of System of Ghosts, winner of the 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize and published by the University of Iowa Press in 2016. She writes poetry and fiction and her work appears in Prairie Schooner Blackbird, Rattle, diode, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among other journals. She was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and has received a James Merrill fellowsh ...more

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