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The Abridged History of Rainfall

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  158 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Jay Hopler's second collection, a mourning song for his father, is an elegy of uproar, a careening hymn to disaster and its aftermath. In lyric poems by turns droll and desolate, Hopler documents the struggle to live in the face of great loss, a task that sends him ranging through Florida's torrid subtropics, the mountains of the American West, the streets of Rome, and the ...more
Hardcover, 80 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by McSweeney's
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Jerrie (redwritinghood)
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These poems are quite beautiful, but often touched by sadness. The author struggles with grief over the death of his father and how everything eventually ends/dies. The language is lovely, though, and there is much here we can all identify with in our own lives.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Throughout THE ABRIDGED HISTORY OF RAINFALL, Jay Hopler takes you on journey across time, space, and emotion - masterfully capturing the human condition and its impact on the natural world. The poems are full of grieving, wonder (and sometimes consternation) at the small things in life, loneliness, and birds. Hawks, roosters, crows, woodcocks, songbirds, chickens, you name it. There's even a poem, "The Ranges of Birds" that uses onomatopoeia to great effect in describing the sounds of different ...more
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A breathtakingly beautiful book. An emotional roller-coaster. A symphony of sound that resonates long after you have closed the covers. This National Book Award Finalist collection of poetry is a gift.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jay Hopler's The Abridged History of Rainfall is a not intolerable translation of Gunter Eich's 1955 collection, Botschaften des Regens -- Messages From the Rain. The German title -- Hopler's poems are suffused with his love of German poetry, Rilke, Eich and Trakl, in particular -- is mentioned in the Hopler volume's second poem, "Where is All This Water Coming From," a title at least in part about German gutturals. In an interview, Hopler has himself remarked on his preference for these sounds: ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
Jay Hopler’s sad lament over the passing of his father, Robert Sherwood Hopler, is beautifully written and beautifully packaged by McSweeney’s. Finished it two (2) days ago and couldn’t wrap my brain around a review that would do this little work of wonder the justice it richly deserves.

The poems speak of life, death and loss and the way we mark the passage of time after such loss. For example, in the poem entitled “Epigraph” Hopler writes:

Every year at about this time,
I pull the vines from the
David Anthony Sam
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jay Hopler’s “The Abridged History of Rainfall” is a collection of good poetry: many fine lines and phrases, imagery that is true and right. Many of the poems have a clear voice that is one we want to listen to. Others play with archaic voices or the stylized voice of Wallace Stevens. Sometimes the poet seems to undermine his own poetic eloquence:

“A squadron of dragonflies is darning the darkening/yard” is a fine line, but the poet then says:

“Correction: a squadron of dragonflies is darning the
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good correction to read on a rainy day, when your heart feels achy.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miscellaneous
i think the devotional/elegiacal form of poetry might be the only kind i can really vibe with.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nicely written poems.
Jonathan Tennis
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable collection of poetry. My favorites were “O, The Sadness Immaculate” and “The Rooster King”. While “The Rooster King” covers a lot of ground (it’s 18 pages long), my favorite line of the poem and of this collection is “A dog can’t tell a lie; a cat can’t tell the truth; and people, at least the ones I’ve known, can’t tell the difference. That’s why I live alone. With my two dogs. That—, and because everyone else is gone.” (p. 57)
Christopher Soriano
A beautiful collection of poems dealing primarily with grief. I couldn't put it down nor did I want to.
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Dec 23, 2018 added it
I checked this book out of the library because of it’s silvery cover and it hung around my apartment for 3 weeks. I would occasionally pick it up and hold it near the window, turning it slightly to catch the light and wondering what color it actually was.
Marc Rahe
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Jay Hopler is associate professor of English at the University of South Florida.

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