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January 2001
80 pages  

6 x 9
9780822957379
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Cathedral of the North
Voisine, Connie
Winner of the 1999 Associated Writing Programs' Award Series in Poetry. Set against a fantastic backdrop of religious imagery, myth and dreams, science fiction, and the stark realities of a northern factory town, Voisine's poems carefully detail the life of a common hero and his family.
Connie Voisine, a native of Fort Kent, Maine, is an assistant professor of English at the University of Hartford. She has published poems in the Threepenny Review, Ploughshares, and Seneca Review, and is working on a collection of nonfiction essays on ghosts. She lives in Hartford, Connecticut, and Carson City, Nevada.
“Contains the raw, obsessive energy you like to see in a frist book, a book that knows its subject intimately, takes it seriously and renders it humanely. It also contains some of the best American poetry I’ve see in a while, often reminiscent of early Forché: the same stark language, the deft use of language and metaphor . . . compelling and urgent, Voisine’s voice deserves to be heard. Cathedral of the North reaches up with its bells and spires and shapes love and loss into song.” —Dorianne Laux, final judge

“Passe la nuit, writes Connie Voisine in Cathedral of the North, her first magical collection of poems. The night passes—in the Acadian French of the tiny town where she grew up, as far North as the country goes) and day comes again, bringing each story closer to its conclusion, each character in the gaze of the book’s clear-eyed, word haunted narrator more precisely alive. What a blessing of language and what a brilliant gift this young poet has been given—to re-see the past, its nights and days, to re-animate the present, to dream it all, night and day, into these startling poems.”—Carol Muske

“Surely only in a virtuoso performance could we have stars ‘tighten to teeth marks on the freezing sky,’ then ‘thick as salt spilled for the trees/ to lick’ and finally a single ‘star, resting on a branch, a ring on its hand.’ They’re especially moving in the service of this exploration of what it means to be among ‘the unbeautiful few who can survive that far north.’”—Jacqueline Osherow

“The luminous details and emotional subtleties in these poems bring to mind Alice Munro’s short stories. They light the dark corners of familiar rooms, but also open onto inner and outer landscapes I feel I’m seeing for the first time. These are visionary poems in every sense of the word.”—Sharon Bryan

“These moving and artful poems are centered by reverence: for language, for family, and for place. . . . Voisine’s Cathedral of the North illuminates the distance we all inhabit.”---Sandra Meek, Arts & Letters, Spring 2001

Cathedral of the North succeeds in examining and accepting, with delicate attention, the knot of inherited love and anguish it claims as its own.”---Virginia Quarterly Review

“Voisine’s poetry is wholly unsentimental, tactile, and filled with unexpected beauty....this is a dazzling, brave, and surprising first book.”--Denise Duhamel, Bookshelf, Winter 2001-02

“What is touching about ‘Cathedral of the North’ is the way the adult poet continues to inhabit, and be inhabited by, the girl she was. Voisine’s honesty gives the book a refreshing sense of what might best be termed integrity, an old-fashioned virtue not conspicuously valued in the contemporary literary world of self-conscious journaling and self-aggrandizing memoir.”

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Winner of the 1999 Associated Writing Programs' Award Series in Poetry Set against a fantastic backdrop of religious imagery, myth and dreams, science fiction, and the stark realities of a northern factory town, Voisine's poems carefully detail the life of a common hero and his family. A young girl comes of age in this town, inventing her own sign language, creating worlds and realities, all the while revealing the intense love she has for a father who has given his life to his family's survival.
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