“Delight, alarm, and controlled delirium: that’s the effect of Jennifer Clarvoe’s simultaneously centripetal and centrifugal poems. Sense explodes out of her tightly contained, rhymed, punning, and allusive stanzas. A higher sense, and a deeper sense, than our dailiness allows, as she reminds us that “‘silly,’ / because it takes us past the bounds of reason, / comes from Seele, comes from the word for soul.’”
—Rosanna Warren, Boston University
“To counter Ovid’s Amores is to counter parody, and Jennifer Clarvoe drafts her Sturm brilliantly, probably laughing all the way to the Black Sea. And yet love is not countenanced by others here. It turns on its own contours, bruised, amused. Self-mocking? Most Ovidian.”
—Judith Hall, California Institute of Technology
|Publication Date: October 31, 2011 ||$18.00 • £11.50 |
|International publication date: November 14, 2011 ||978-0-226-10928-2 (cloth) |
Jennifer Clarvoe’s second book, Counter-Amores, wrestles with and against love. The poems in the title series talk back to Ovid’s Amores, and, in talking back, take charge, take delight, and take revenge. They suggest that we discover what we love by fighting—by bringing our angry, hungry, imperfect selves into the battle. Like a man who shouts for the echo back from a cliff, or the scientist who teaches her parrot to say, “I love you,” or the philosopher who wonders what it is like to be a bat, or Temple Grandin’s lucid imaginings of the last moments of cattle destined for slaughter, the speakers in these poems seek to find themselves in relation to an ever-widening circle of unknowable others. Yearning for “the sweet cool hum / of fridge and fluorescent that sang ‘home,’” we’re as likely to find “fifty-seven clicks & flickering channels / pitched to the galaxy.” Song itself becomes a site for gorgeous struggle, just as bella means both “beautiful” and “wars.”
Jennifer Clarvoe is professor of English at Kenyon College and a recipient of the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is the author of Invisible Tender, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Poets Out Loud Prize.
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