Cover image for The dreamhouse
Title:
The dreamhouse
Author:
Sleigh, Tom.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 104 pages ; 22 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780226750484

9780226750491
Format :
Book

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PS3569.L36 D74 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

In The Dreamhouse , Tom Sleigh's poetry is a medium for both revelation and linguistic invention. The meditative clarity of Sleigh's poems, his ability to range between the plain and high style with complete naturalness of intonation, and the varying and always surprising musical effects he accomplishes in each poem display his unequaled flair for innovation that is never willful or forced but which always works to forward the poems' emotional and intellectual resonances. The Dreamhouse marks Sleigh as one of the most inventive and provocative poets of his generation.

Praise for Tom Sleigh:

"Through sheer artistry, Tom Sleigh manages to write . . . in a transcendent way, and without appeal to the metaphysical assumptions transcendence usually requires. The Chain . . . floods darkness with brilliant craft."--Gray Jacobik, Boston Globe

"Tom Sleigh's second book of poems, Waking , is so fine one can hardly do justice to it in a review. . . . Sleigh is nearly as prodigal with his gifts as Yeats."--Liz Rosenberg, New York Times Book Review


Summary

In The Dreamhouse , Tom Sleigh's poetry is a medium for both revelation and linguistic invention. The meditative clarity of Sleigh's poems, his ability to range between the plain and high style with complete naturalness of intonation, and the varying and always surprising musical effects he accomplishes in each poem display his unequaled flair for innovation that is never willful or forced but which always works to forward the poems' emotional and intellectual resonances. The Dreamhouse marks Sleigh as one of the most inventive and provocative poets of his generation.

Praise for Tom Sleigh:

"Through sheer artistry, Tom Sleigh manages to write . . . in a transcendent way, and without appeal to the metaphysical assumptions transcendence usually requires. The Chain . . . floods darkness with brilliant craft."--Gray Jacobik, Boston Globe

"Tom Sleigh's second book of poems, Waking , is so fine one can hardly do justice to it in a review. . . . Sleigh is nearly as prodigal with his gifts as Yeats."--Liz Rosenberg, New York Times Book Review


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

From Heracles and Horace to headlights and homelessness, Sleigh's raw and often-compelling fourth book of poetry builds on his familiar strengths: hard-chiseled lines and stanzas mix versions of Greek and Latin prayers and myths, contemporary confessional lyric and portraits of mentally ill urban wanderers whose persistence Sleigh pities and admires. An attentive 11-section sequence about the life, death and immortality of Heracles stands among Sleigh's best work: "Before him the underworld/ shrinks to an arrow's tip, behind him his past bleeds into a vapor trail/ until he is nothing but the momentum he feels gathering/ as the bow bends and the tensing fingers curl." Sleigh's Attic clarity adapts almost as well to the barroom and automobile as to the bow and arrow: in the guilt-ridden downtown of "The Grid," a man collapses on a sidewalk, "the police hoist him by his armpits and sockless ankles," and Sleigh reflects: "The waters wear the stones. My face is foul with weeping/ and on my eyelids is the shadow of death." As in previous books (Waking; The Chain) Sleigh can sound slightly like Thom Gunn, Frank Bidart or Robert Pinsky, though rarely like any one for the length of a poem. (As with Pinsky, simple clarity can become for him an end instead of a means.) Sleigh chooses the scarred over the polished, the unadorned over the elaborate, and the sublimely accurate over the beautiful. His most personal work, in a sequence of love poems and one about his late father, is paradoxically his least individuated: his "father's face/ quizzical, half-angry, pinched by death/ and then, at the end grown grave, calm" could be the face of many poets' parents, but Sleigh's tormented Greek heroes are his alone. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In his fourth collection, Sleigh (Waking) continues his presentations of mood pieces, perhaps reminiscent of Wallace Stevens but with a deep-set anger and agitation that is purely contemporary. "Sunday Morning," in his view, presents not the tranquility of Stevens but a crazed bag lady in the park. She is not alone in her derangement: there will always be those "demons/ who slip in and out of us whatever our lives," as he warns in "To the Sun." All modern poets are taught to take note of every smallest happenstance around them, but Sleigh's powers of observation top any this reviewer has read, as in "Stillness," a dense, five-page poem describing an elderly poet climbing into the back seat of a Volkswagen. Nothing about these poems is direct, yet the digressions are so linguistically marvelous that, if it matters how he got from there to here, we simply read again. As a matter of fact, the complex yet brilliant poems in the second section, dealing with the death of Sleigh's father, require (and withstand) second and third readings. Two of Sleigh's previous books were reviewed in the New York Times; he's won NEA, Guggenheim, and Lila Wallace/ Reader's Digest grants, among others. Recommended everywhere poetry books are read.ÄRochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

From Heracles and Horace to headlights and homelessness, Sleigh's raw and often-compelling fourth book of poetry builds on his familiar strengths: hard-chiseled lines and stanzas mix versions of Greek and Latin prayers and myths, contemporary confessional lyric and portraits of mentally ill urban wanderers whose persistence Sleigh pities and admires. An attentive 11-section sequence about the life, death and immortality of Heracles stands among Sleigh's best work: "Before him the underworld/ shrinks to an arrow's tip, behind him his past bleeds into a vapor trail/ until he is nothing but the momentum he feels gathering/ as the bow bends and the tensing fingers curl." Sleigh's Attic clarity adapts almost as well to the barroom and automobile as to the bow and arrow: in the guilt-ridden downtown of "The Grid," a man collapses on a sidewalk, "the police hoist him by his armpits and sockless ankles," and Sleigh reflects: "The waters wear the stones. My face is foul with weeping/ and on my eyelids is the shadow of death." As in previous books (Waking; The Chain) Sleigh can sound slightly like Thom Gunn, Frank Bidart or Robert Pinsky, though rarely like any one for the length of a poem. (As with Pinsky, simple clarity can become for him an end instead of a means.) Sleigh chooses the scarred over the polished, the unadorned over the elaborate, and the sublimely accurate over the beautiful. His most personal work, in a sequence of love poems and one about his late father, is paradoxically his least individuated: his "father's face/ quizzical, half-angry, pinched by death/ and then, at the end grown grave, calm" could be the face of many poets' parents, but Sleigh's tormented Greek heroes are his alone. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In his fourth collection, Sleigh (Waking) continues his presentations of mood pieces, perhaps reminiscent of Wallace Stevens but with a deep-set anger and agitation that is purely contemporary. "Sunday Morning," in his view, presents not the tranquility of Stevens but a crazed bag lady in the park. She is not alone in her derangement: there will always be those "demons/ who slip in and out of us whatever our lives," as he warns in "To the Sun." All modern poets are taught to take note of every smallest happenstance around them, but Sleigh's powers of observation top any this reviewer has read, as in "Stillness," a dense, five-page poem describing an elderly poet climbing into the back seat of a Volkswagen. Nothing about these poems is direct, yet the digressions are so linguistically marvelous that, if it matters how he got from there to here, we simply read again. As a matter of fact, the complex yet brilliant poems in the second section, dealing with the death of Sleigh's father, require (and withstand) second and third readings. Two of Sleigh's previous books were reviewed in the New York Times; he's won NEA, Guggenheim, and Lila Wallace/ Reader's Digest grants, among others. Recommended everywhere poetry books are read.ÄRochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
I Prayer
The Dreamhouse
The Cry After Midnight Heracles Fragment Augusto Jandolo: On Excavating an Etruscan Tomb
II Demon The Island Under the Pines Scattering
III Bond Stillness Token
The Hammock
The Meadow
The Harp
The Outcast Achilles' Horses
The Fight
The Harbor
The Door
IV To the Sun One Sunday
The Train Flesh Transfusion
The Wreck A Visit
The Grid Purity Supreme Raft
The Ticket Speech for Myself as a Ghost
The Field
Acknowledgments
I Prayer
The Dreamhouse
The Cry After Midnight Heracles Fragment Augusto Jandolo: On Excavating an Etruscan Tomb
II Demon The Island Under the Pines Scattering
III Bond Stillness Token
The Hammock
The Meadow
The Harp
The Outcast Achilles' Horses
The Fight
The Harbor
The Door
IV To the Sun One Sunday
The Train Flesh Transfusion
The Wreck A Visit
The Grid Purity Supreme Raft
The Ticket Speech for Myself as a Ghost
The Field