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This Connection of Everyone With Lungs (New California Poetry #15)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  595 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Part planetary love poem, part 24/7 news flash, the hypnotic poems of This Connection of Everyone with Lungs wrap with equal, angular grace around lovers and battleships. These poems hear the tracer fire in a bird's song and capture cell division and troop deployments in the same expansive thought. They move through concentric levels of association and embrace —from the sp ...more
Paperback, 86 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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Robert Beveridge
Juliana Spahr, This Connection of Everyone with Lungs (University of California Press, 2005)

There are a handful of books I defenestrate each year. (Since June of 2007, thirty-six books have been forcefully ejected from the window in total.) Usually they're either awfully-written fiction or dry, ponderous, textbook-like nonfiction. It is very, very rare that I do it with poetry. (The exception are those hideous “verse novel”s that are taking hold of kidlit these days, not a single one of which I'
Jennifer metsker
Jul 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
When I read this book I thought, poetry matters. It is a long poem written just after 9-11, which takes on the tragedy and politics surrounding that event with a lyrical elegance and an experimental sense of language that work simultaneously to capture our closeness (our collective consciousness) and the sense of distance we feel from media and overwhelming world events. I am looking forward to reading more of Spahr who seems to know just how to blend the accessible with the edgy to achieve a po ...more
Kasey Jueds
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I was a bit dubious about this book when I started out. Partly because of some of the bad reviews here, partly because, flipping through the pages, I kept stumbling on lines that didn't seem very good on their own. But the book as a whole blew me away. It's incredibly brave in the way it takes up enormous, very contemporary but also very ancient, issues, and tries to deal with them immediately and directly. So the five-star rating is due a little bit to what the book is trying to do, its aspirat ...more
Mar 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I love the first poem, which is a conceptual piece on breath. The repetition and slow building are effective and hypnotic. I found the remaining pieces, mainly collections of snippets from the news, tiresome, heavy-handed, and preachy.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who read the news regularly
Shelves: poetry
only three because i can't figure out how i really feel about this work. i love the ideas, feelings of separateness yet irrevocable connectivity. but the delivery, the idea behind the language poets, i can't help but despise.
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great collection of inspiring poetry from an astute poet, and I didn't like it simply because I'm a respiratory therapist and the title mentions lungs.
Andy Stallings
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
Poetics of weak liberalism. Wide-eyed, harmed by the news. Silly.
Oct 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
dug this immensely

wish it was widely available

political, emotional
the fact and sentimentalism of "lungs" and the impact of war for those not fighting it directly

could not dismiss it
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The news refreshes every few minutes on the computer screen and on the television screen. The stories move from front to back and then off the page and then perhaps forward again in a motion that I can’t predict but I suspect is not telling the necessary truths.

I can’t predict our time together either. Or why we like each other like we do.

I have no idea when our bodies will feel very good to one of us or to all of us together or to none of us.

The drive to press against one another that is there
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
The first (title) poem in this is decent. I really enjoyed the hypnotic rhythm and repetition she uses throughout that one. However, the rest of the book is a really plodding, melodramatic example of pseudopolitical liberal hand-wringing. Basically the last 3/4 of the book consists of "oh my GOSH aren't all the bad things that happen in the world so TERRIBLE!!!" without much to redeem it in the way of form or language, or even real insight beyond "bad things happen to people." This kind of think ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Very few poets write poems that I have been able to relate to. Very few works of art responding to September 11 rise above triteness. This collection of poems includes "Poem Written After September 11, 2001," and it flourishes in both regards. It conveys the interconnectedness of all things uniquely and indisputably over the course of its unfolding rhythmic repetition.
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Spahr is beautiful and heartbreaking. This book so elegantly traces the depths of sadness surrounding the current state of world affairs, the connections we have with those who suffer far away, and the suffering of our connections with those we love most, those to whom we are closest, and how we cannot have one without the other. Brilliant.
Gary McDowell
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ho-hum
I am supposed to like her, but I just have trouble getting into this book. Only read it once though, so I'll try it again. I hate giving up on a book that I know I should like...
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Well-paced prose poetry. Meditative, sorrowful, and beautiful.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Juliana Spahr's best.
Martha Chudy
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are easily definable themes here. Lots of repetition ensures that the reader is fully aware of theme. But there's also a lack of attention to detail. Oddly in all the specifics of war and death, I felt there was a lack of specificity. The mind boggles to think of the daily atrocities that we so hypocritically live through sipping lattes (that's me, at least). But what direction should our guilt take, Spahr has no clear suggestion except maybe protest. I'm afraid that to my ears this comes ...more
Katie Nielsen
Feb 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
These kinds of poems are just not my thing.
... Also, salt on yogurt is just a big nope.
Amourose Langer
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I cried. Whether it was because of sadness for all that happens or marvel at Spahr's beautiful poetry I don't know for sure.
Bettina Dion
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
C. Varn
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a manic and expansive book of poetry--Spahr will start a poem and she seems to mad-dash through its implications and twists. It has an incantatory quality as well reminding one of Stein. The book starts with "Poem Written After Sept. 11, 2001" and the longer "Poem Written from November 30, 2002 to March 27, 2003" which build on a politics and poetics of dealing with ones space in a political and natural environment which seems beyond the individual. The latter poem is the majority of the ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
While I like poetic repetition and feel that there are passages in this collection that use it well, it is definitely possible to overuse repetition to the point that it starts to drag down the language. Several pieces in here prove that point.

Also, while I agree with the political stance, I found that the collection read as a bit naïve at points and never really offered any concrete solution to the issues at hand. (Is that the job of poetry, though? I suppose that is up to the individual poet..
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
"Guided missile frigates, attack submarines, oilers, and amphibious transport/dock ships follow us into bed.

Fast combat support ships, landing crafts, air cushioned, all of this with all of that."

I will say that this book hugely disappointed me, as I'd heard of Spahr and was looking forward to reading her work. She didn't live up to my hopes. But this ending is a good example of what this book does that feels transformative for poetry, politics, life. Yes, the tone gets tiresome. Yes, there are
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Read this when it first came out, but not well -- put off by its manner, its tendentiousness; so, when an admired friend delivered an encomium, I had to go back for a re-read. Two sequences, the first moving, the second, longer, an endeavor to insomnia and the irony of witness. Reading Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas, or Laura Riding's The World and Ourselves, each trying to stave off the European conflict of the Thirties . . . you'll have read something that adds up to much more than this.
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Though these poems have their moments, generally I didn't connect with them. A lot of world headlines from 11 years ago, and they rely too much on the reader's memory and mental baggage, without saying anything of substance or the poet doing the work of drawing connections. The frequent use of repetition felt monotonous to me. Generally, I think using these big events (as well as the small personal scenes) requires more work.
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this collection of poems. As a yogini this book resonated very powerfully with my practice and with my teachings.

The book touches on the great events of life after 911 and how all interconnectedness became even more obvious to those who witnessed the changes that our world has seen in the last 10 years.

Thank you Kristin for lending me this collection of poems!
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Beautiful book, and I usually tend to go to politically sound poetry, but I felt towards the end that it seemed more like a document of white guilt at moments than of document of injustice. Although, it was that as well, at times. The language is precise and effective, and would probably recommend it to other people interested in similar poetics.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I finally read this one, courtesy of Kristen's bookshelf and a morning of dog-sitting. Gus liked the poems about all humans being connected by breath and beds (because it got him more nap cuddles). I appreciate the shameless repetition and variations on the theme. More political than I'm interested in, but it's a good model of how to develop that concern in the space of a book.
Katie Schmid
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Sometimes you just gotta list a lot of shit, you know? Three stars for the second half of the book which I liked pretty well. Might have to read her other book just because of the title. I think it's called "Fuck you-Aloha-I love you." I am serious.
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Juliana Spahr (born 1969) is an American poet, critic, and editor. She is the recipient of the 2009 Hardison Poetry Prize awarded by the Folger Shakespeare Library to honor a U.S. poet whose art and teaching demonstrate great imagination and daring.

Both Spahr's critical and scholarly studies, i.e., Everybody’s Autonomy: Connective Reading and Collective Identity (2001), and her poetry have shown S
More about Juliana Spahr

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