978-0-375-40135-0 / 9780375401350

The Bird Catcher





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About the book:

Marie Ponsot is a subtle, delicate, and yet oddly assertive poet. Again and again in The Bird Catcher, she approaches experience with a kind of reasonable trepidation. Yet she always does what is necessary--as protagonist and poet--to elicit a spiritual insight. Braving the elements seems to be second nature to her. And in this volume, she's consumed by one element in particular: water. In "Separate in the Swim," for example, she can't resist the ocean's allure, despite her terror of "the aim of wave, the idea / that picks up the water / and throws it at the shore." Yet this terror is also a prelude to a vision of oneness:

Each stroke starts a far drumming
clumping the kelp, helping
shells and rubbish decay into sand.

In this stretch of the Atlantic
the whole Atlantic operates.

As I ride, its broad cast evokes
my tiny unity, a pod, a person.

Thanks to the closure of skin
I'm forking the tune I'm part of
though my part is played moving
on a different instrument.

In every poem in the collection, Marie Ponsot functions as an explorer, relentlessly mapping one piece of terra incognita after another. A linguistic delight, The Bird Catcher is also an invitation to voyage into the inner and outer wilderness. --Mark Rudman

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