The University of Wisconsin Press
“Proverbs are true / but not quite / true enough.”
—from the poem “The Surprises”
All of the poems in this book seek to say what is true enough, what is truer even than proverbs are. Singer’s proverbial insight, like Kafka’s, describes the reality behind things, in a spare and stark place that is not for us. Reality, like a poem, is a corridor between dark and dark that leads at last to a “true recess,” emptiness and void, “not a soul in sight.” But still in the darkness there are circles of lamplight, places of rest. “What but a desire to stay here would have made me come to this desolate place?” asks Kafka. We too want to stay for a while, learn for a while, in the desolate places Singer shows us and of which she somehow manages to make a sojourn—a true enough home, even in the corridor.
We were cheerfully discussing the effects
of foreshortening. Party sounds tinkled
all around. The end of the century was near,
and the end of life, never that far away.
How nice to speak prose in a time of peril.
The pie gets bigger, as fewer of us
remain to share it. Hello, pie:
today we want to eat you up, it’s a good day,
and tomorrow is yesterday with a frisson.
Give us our margin, whose shape is so
clean and clear, simply the plain road
leading on to its destination.
—“New Year”, an excerpt from Corridor
“Poetry in the spirit of Franz Kafka . . . Singer’s work moves me by its indirect yet surpassingly poignant avoidance of all obvious pathos.” —Harold Bloom
Josephine Singer (a pseudonym) is a professor of literature. Her critical publications include books and essays on writers from Aeschylus to Ashbery. Her poetry has appeared in The Southwest Review and the Library of America volume of American religious poetry.
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Of Related Interest
I Hear Voices
A Memoir of Love, Death, and the Radio
Winner of the 2008 August Derleth Book-length Nonfiction Award, awarded by the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
Crossing the Great Divide
Brilliant, passionate, sexual, these poems travel into mythic ancestral landscapes.
LC: 2007924361 PS
104 pp. 5 x 8
Cloth $24.00 t
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