Tricks of the Light on Poetry Daily

August 30, 2007
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Poetry Daily—a website dedicated to the dissemination of contemporary poetry through news, reviews, and excerpts—has published the introduction as well as several excellent poems from Vicki Hearne’s (1946-2001) new book, Tricks of the Light: New and Selected Poems. Written by John Hollander, the introduction delivers some fascinating insights into some of the new material, published posthumously, in this latest work. Hollander writes:

The thirty-six posthumous poems (including the long, shockingly original five-part title sequence, Tricks of the Light) explore some of her previously traveled terrain, but with a greater concern for its edges and deceptive contours. The weather, the activity of painting and sculpting, arguments with Plato, a continuing discourse with and of dogs, and always in these poems the array of different kinds of light—different figurations of it, but all somehow heading toward governing tropes of consciousness itself and, ultimately, language. This can be seen even in some of the more casually beautiful short poems like “White Out,” “Getting It Right,” and “Every Time the Mountain,” and in parts of the long poem itself. Running to something like 360 lines in five numbered sections, the sequence starts out with the image of a young girl “hot with light” riding a stallion (returned to briefly later on in the poem) and subsequently moves through its heavily enjambed free-verse tercets with an almost Pindaric profusion of images in complex periodic sentences that, in the course of the poem, seem to be representing rhythms of thought rather than that of archaic eloquence …

You can read the rest of Hollander’s introduction detailing Hearne’s life and career, and peppered with examples of her writing, on the Poetry Daily website. Don’t forget to check out the selection of Hearne’s work they’ve posted as well.

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