Margaret Atwood’s visionary The Year Of The Flood (Nan A. Talese, $26.95) continues where Oryx and Crake left off. The long-awaited flood, which is actually a plague, has destroyed most human life on the planet, but two women remain: Toby and Ren, who once lived together in the group called God’s Gardeners, a religious organization devoted to preserving the natural world. The women now lead totally different lives, each surviving in her own way, and their combined memories reveal the painful events which have led to their present situation. Atwood perfectly creates a future world, one where gene-splicing, corporate power, cosmetic perfection, and class disparities have spiraled out of control.

The Year of the Flood (The MaddAddam Trilogy #2) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307455475
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Published: Anchor - July 27th, 2010

Marilyn Hacker and Rae Armantrout are poets of the same generation. Both have new books, Hacker’s is Names (W.W. Norton, $24.95) and Armantrout’s is the National Book Award-nominated Versed (Wesleyan Univ., $22.95). When I think of Hacker, I see a poet of great, often bilingual wit (she lives part of the time in France) who takes on all subjects and fits them into the forms that characterize classic poetry. In Names, Hacker writes to poets like Alfred Corn and of poets like Anna Akhmatova. She draws on poetic forms from other cultures, using the renga, the ghazal and the glose as well as old standbys like the sonnet. The language is always clear and elegant, whether she’s writing about Montaigne or the Paris rain. Armantrout’s Versed is the work of a writer at the height of her powers. In this book she moves from pop culture to her own struggles with cancer. The work is down-to-earth, written with clarity and humor.

Versed (Wesleyan Poetry) Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780819568793
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Published: Wesleyan University Press - February 2009

Names Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780393339673
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 2nd, 2011

The poems of A Village Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23), the 11th collection by the former Poet Laureate, Louise Glück, are as straightforward as the title suggests. While Glück often uses mythology, here her speakers aren’t gods or heroes but anonymous villagers living in accordance with natural rhythms and annual rituals. The stuff more of a Hardy novel than of fable or fairy tale, Glück’s men and women work hard and dream of another life in the city, but persevere where they are, believing that “whatever happened in that window/we were in harmony with it.” Glück  doesn’t idealize or sentimentalize the “simple” life; it’s not simple, and like any other, it comes with disappointment and isolation. Her characters know that “to get born, your body makes a pact with death,/and from that moment, all it tries to do is cheat.” These sharply observed, often witty lyrics offer brief moments of ordinary lives, yet encapsulate a narrative fullness and complexity—from first love through loss and aging—common to everyone everywhere.

A Village Life: Poems Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780374283742
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 2009

A Village Life: Poems Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374532437
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 14th, 2010

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