Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226647913 Published March 2008 Not for sale in Canada
Paper $15.00 ISBN: 9780226647920 Published March 2008 Not for sale in Canada
E-book $7.00 to $15.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226647937 Published February 2010

Chameleon Hours

Elise Partridge

Chameleon Hours
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Elise Partridge

112 pages | 6-1/8 x 8-1/2 | © 2008
Cloth $40.00 ISBN: 9780226647913 Published March 2008 Not for sale in Canada
Paper $15.00 ISBN: 9780226647920 Published March 2008 Not for sale in Canada
E-book $7.00 to $15.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226647937 Published February 2010
 
From Ways of Going
for Steve

Will it be like paragliding
gossamer takeoff, seedlike drifting down
into a sunlit, unexpected grove?

Or ski-jumping—headlong soaring,
ski-tips piercing clouds,
crystal revelations astonishing my goggles?

. . . . Skittery flicker of a glare-weary lizard
startled into the sheltering wings of a leaf,

rusting freighter with a brimming hold
shimmering onto a crimson edge. . . .

Sad rower pushed from shore,
I'll disappear like circles summoned
by an oar's dip.

However I burn through to the next atmosphere,
let your dear face be the last thing I see.
 

 
Whether writing poems about North American life and landscape; or love poems; or elegies for family and friends; or poems on serious, debilitating illness and the transformations it can effect—Elise Partridge offers in Chameleon Hours words forged by suffering and courage. Full of wit and empathy, Partridge’s poems draw inspiration from sources as whimsical as tortoises and pontoons, as poignant as a homeless woman taking shelter inside a post office on a winter night, and as deeply personal as her own cancer diagnosis at a young age. Chameleon Hours is a book about the rewards of being reminded of one’s own mortality and the lyric expression of life in all its intensity.
 
“In their ample, embracing, nuanced appetite for sensory experience, [Partridge’s] poems achieve an ardent, compassionate and unsentimental vision.”—Robert Pinsky, Washington Post
 
“Partridge’s impressive poems pursue a careful thinker’s yearning for abandon, a loyal friend and partner’s wish for change. Attentive to fact, to what she sees and knows, Partridge nonetheless makes space for what is wild, outside and within us—for the fears and the blanks of chemotherapy, for sharp variations within (and without) frames of metre and rhyme, and for the welcome consistencies of married love. She has learned detail-work, and patience, from Elizabeth Bishop, but she has made other virtues her own: riffs on familiar phrases open startling vistas and even her love poems get attractively practical. Hers is a welcome invitation: let’s listen in.”—Stephen Burt
 
“Reading Chameleon Hours, I find myself marveling at the luck of each heron, mosquito, field of Queen Anne’s Lace, each person, place, thing or circumstance in this beautiful book, to have Elise Partridge’s exquisite and precise attention. And how lucky we are to get to listen in as she offers each of them her flawless ear; the book is full of understated sonic gems like ‘a kickball straight into pink lilac.’ In ‘Chemo Side Effects: Memory,’ after describing ‘groping in the thicket’ for ‘the word I want . . . scrabbling like a squirrel on the oak’s far side,’ she tells us ‘I could always pull the gift / from the lucky-dip barrel; scoop the right jewel / from my dragon’s trove. . . .’ We of course already know this. It’s evident in every one of these poems.”—Jacqueline Osherow


 
Praise for Fielder’s Choice
“Partridge is a technical wizard for whom thinking and feeling are not separate activities. She is a hawk-like observer of the particular . . . many times ascending to pitch-perfect verse.”—Ken Babstock, Globe and Mail (Canada)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robert Pinsky | Washington Post

“In their ample, embracing, nuanced appetite for sensory experience, [Partridge’s] poems achieve an ardent, compassionate and unsentimental vision.”

Stephen Burt

“Partridge’s impressive poems pursue a careful thinker’s yearning for abandon, a loyal friend and partner’s wish for change. Attentive to fact, to what she sees and knows, Partridge nonetheless makes space for what is wild, outside and within us—for the fears and the blanks of chemotherapy, for sharp variations within (and without) frames of metre and rhyme, and for the welcome consistencies of married love. She has learned detail-work, and patience, from Elizabeth Bishop, but she has made other virtues her own: riffs on familiar phrases open startling vistas and even her love poems get attractively practical. Hers is a welcome invitation: let’s listen in.”

Jacqueline Osherow

“Reading Chameleon Hours, I find myself marveling at the luck of each heron, mosquito, field of Queen Anne’s Lace, each person, place, thing or circumstance in this beautiful book, to have Elise Partridge’s exquisite and precise attention. And how lucky we are to get to listen in as she offers each of them her flawless ear; the book is full of understated sonic gems like ‘a kickball straight into pink lilac.’ In ‘Chemo Side Effects: Memory,’ after describing ‘groping in the thicket’ for ‘the word I want . . . scrabbling like a squirrel on the oak’s far side,’ she tells us ‘I could always pull the gift / from the lucky-dip barrel; scoop the right jewel / from my dragon’s trove. . . .’ We of course already know this. It’s evident in every one of these poems.”

Rosanna Warren

“Elise Partridge is a poet of brilliant precisions. Each line presents a new, glinting angle of thought. Whether she’s contemplating relics of World War II, or a mosquito struggling in a spider web like ‘a fast-forward Rockette,’ or shirts spinning in a dryer, their arms flailing, Partridge’s coolly surprising intelligence rediscovers the worlds she remakes in words. These poems—good, tangy and chunky on the tongue—somehow reflect life’s plenitude while maintaining their own spareness and balance. The result is an art of eerie compassion and an almost hyper-realist perception of the small, like the snail seen rippling and gliding its way across a paved road: ‘Bow sprit-antennae plunge, rise:/ safety’s ten lifetimes ahead.’”

Contents
     Acknowledgements

ONE

     Everglades
     Two Scenes from Philadelphia
     1959
     Group Portrait
     The Artist's House
     In the Barn
     Thirteen
     Two Monuments
     First Death
     Miss Peters
     Mia's House
     Supermarket Scanner
     Temp
     For a Father
     Elegy
     The Secret House
     Caught
     One Calvinist's God
     Plague

TWO

     Gnomic Verses from the Anglo-Saxon
     Four Lectures by Robert Lowell
     Sisyphus: The Sequel
     Philosophical Arguments
     Depends on the Angle
     Insights
     As I Was Saying
     Arcadia
     Rural Route
     Dislocations
     Song: The Messenger
     The Book of Steve
     August
     Buying the Farm

THREE

     Cancer Surgery
     Prognosis: 50-50
     A Valediction
     Room 238: Old Woman and Hummingbird
     Chemo Side Effects: Memory
     Chemo Side Effects: Vision
     Childless
     Forty-Eight Years
     Granted a Stay
     First Days Back at Work
     Chameleon Hours
     Ways of Going
      Farewell Desires

FOUR

     Home Is the Sailor
     For Jenny
     The Runt Lily
     Since I Last Saw You
 
FIVE

     World War II Watchtower
     Crux
     Pauper, Boston
     Vuillard Interior
     Where Your Treasure Is
     US Post Office, December 22
     Two Cowboys
     Ruin
     Heron, Tampa
     Tested
     Epitaph for Diane
     Edwin Partridge
     Snail Halfway Across the Road
     From Festes's Self-Help Book
     Unknown Artists
     Phoenix
     Snapshots of Our Afterlife
     Small Vessel

     Notes
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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