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February 2011
96 pages  

6 x 9
9780822961390
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The Book of Ten
Wood, Susan
“Sometimes your car breaks down in front of a gas station, and sometimes it doesn’t. Susan Wood works the lonely stretch of road that connects these two possibilities. It seems as though it’s always night in these beautiful, haunting poems, but Wood lights the landscape with her vision, her intelligence, and the fierceness of her love for everything human.”
—David Kirby

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Susan Wood is Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English at Rice University. She is the author of Bazaar and Campo Santo, which was the Lamont Poetry Selection for 1991, and won the Natalie Ornish Prize of the Texas Institute of Letters. Her third book, Asunder, was chosen by Garrett Hongo for the National Poetry Series. She has received fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her poems have appeared in the Antioch Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Northwest Review, Poetry, and elsewhere.
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“Sometimes your car breaks down in front of a gas station, and sometimes it doesn’t. Susan Wood works the lonely stretch of road that connects these two possibilities. It seems as though it’s always night in these beautiful, haunting poems, but Wood lights the landscape with her vision, her intelligence, and the fierceness of her love for everything human.” —David Kirby

“The Book of Ten is Susan Wood’s fourth book of poems, and it is her best, which is saying something. If the truest poem is, at heart, an elegy, then the thirty-two examples here mark an advance in the capacity of poetry to work out and work through attitudes (perhaps beatitudes) of grief. It would be inadequate to read Wood’s new poems as simply beautiful lyric narratives—when they are totalities of feeling, moving between lament and wit with the skill of an imperative. Wood joins as much as she enjoins the reader to share in these victories of language over experience.”—Stanley Plumly

“Susan Wood, as mature and unfrivolous a poet as we have today, has produced a collection that one might properly place in a line of literary descent from the confessional poets of the late ‘60s. She pirouettes around instance after episode of her soul’s trial, spinning elegant narratives and eloquent surmisals reminiscent of the best of English Romantic poetry.” —Garrett Hongo

“Susan Wood takes in the ‘broken world’ with its godless horrors, its grief-stricken music, its ‘starless roads,’ its sadness—that ‘equal-opportunity emotion,’ and delivers it all back to the reader in searingly clear lyrics and powerfully nuanced meditations. Wood looks unsparingly at the limits of love and at all-too-familiar human failings, and yet at the end of The Book of Ten, I felt so much had been redeemed.”—Barbara Ras

“Thought provoking and inspiring. Wood suggests that we all share the same fears and fallibilities, that we all have ‘our little gods’ we give in to out of sheer imperfection. Wood is not only seeking justification, but looking to share the emotional turmoil we face as a culture whose values have changed throughout the decades. It is the sincerity in how she sees herself and society that is truly welcoming. In the end, the reader is left with a sense of acceptance and hope.”—Front Porch Journal

“Susan Wood begins her fourth collection with questions about God, death and injustice. As her poems quickly show, the sins that people commit against themselves or against one another are more damaging than the Lord’s silence . . . Wood’s clear narratives make the whole book cinematic.”—Washington Post Book World

“Susan Wood brings us this new collection of her poems and a steadfast intent to write with courage of history and contemporary American life. She is able—adept, even—to make things mundane seem complex and worthy of her pen while in due contrast illuminating things that could be considered justly grand as very human, tactile, and near. Like Jorie Graham or Geoffery Hill, she is swift and unapologetic about plunking her reader down in the middle of some landscape—as if the dear reader had been on holiday there with her all along—and provides details of her views of this place, making it familiar at once even if it screams unknown, remote, or exotic.”—Coal Hill Review


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