Cover image for Carolina ghost woods : poems
Title:
Carolina ghost woods : poems
Author:
Jordan, Judy, 1961-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
59 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780807125557

9780807125564
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PS3560.O729 C37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Wintry in tone, titles and topics--"Ice molds my life" as one poem puts it--Jordan's debut scours the wooded terrain for metaphors of death ("It's dirt and dust after all") and trolls her family history for murders, suicides, threats and promises of the end. The governing influence here is Charles Wright, whose learned, long-lined, colloquial mysticism speaks through lines like "The dead stow my name in the slack of their mouths," or "the dead have me in their pocket," yet places such possessions in specific situations, as "When Hitchhiking into West Virginia" or when stuck in "the all-night deli." The book's wanderings come as a result of mourning for a variety of figures: the poet's grandmother, other relatives, friends, neighbors violently dead. As poems answer each other and develop the theme, the dead become the poet's lost form and lost work--particularly the mother. When the speaker watches toads possessing "faith in their wholeness and desire," she knows what she lacks. Alliteration, internal rhyme and other resources of sound are on impressive display throughout the book, which won last year's Walt Whitman award from the Academy of American Poets, but the whole can't quite lift grief out the specific grievings.


Author Notes

Judy Jordan 's poems have appeared in Poetry, Crossroads, and other journals and will be included in the upcoming anthology American Poetry: Next Generation. She has been the recipient of a Henry Hoyns Fellowship, a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship, and the first-place prize in the Western Humanities Review's Utah Writers Competition. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Wintry in tone, titles and topics--"Ice molds my life" as one poem puts it--Jordan's debut scours the wooded terrain for metaphors of death ("It's dirt and dust after all") and trolls her family history for murders, suicides, threats and promises of the end. The governing influence here is Charles Wright, whose learned, long-lined, colloquial mysticism speaks through lines like "The dead stow my name in the slack of their mouths," or "the dead have me in their pocket," yet places such possessions in specific situations, as "When Hitchhiking into West Virginia" or when stuck in "the all-night deli." The book's wanderings come as a result of mourning for a variety of figures: the poet's grandmother, other relatives, friends, neighbors violently dead. As poems answer each other and develop the theme, the dead become the poet's lost form and lost work--particularly the mother. When the speaker watches toads possessing "faith in their wholeness and desire," she knows what she lacks. Alliteration, internal rhyme and other resources of sound are on impressive display throughout the book, which won last year's Walt Whitman award from the Academy of American Poets, but the whole can't quite lift grief out the specific grievings. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Jordan's poems demonstrate a skillfulness and maturity that is uncommon today in even our most established poets; for good reason, this new work has been awarded the Walt Whitman Prize for 1999. With a keen attention to sound and rhythm and a sharp eye for detail, Jordan composes an often unsettling poetry of witness. Raised on a small farm near the border between the Carolinas, the daughter of sharecroppers and heir to a wonder-filled but also harsh, and sad world, she finds solace in nature. "Here I bring my sorrows/ like the delft-blue mussel shells,/ fingertip tiny, most beautiful when strewn wide with loss." Poverty, family chaos, racial turbulence, and senseless violence and death ("graves dug again, and again,") lurk in the background of these poems, even as a haunting music of hope lures us through them. "In this world of memory, this world of prayer/ tossed to the crows," Jordan finds peace and redemption. This is solid, memorable poetry from a talented young voice. Highly recommended.--Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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