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The Wanton Sublime [Paperback]

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Item description for The Wanton Sublime by Anna Rabinowitz...

"Anna Rabinowitz gives us language at a height and experience at a depth that the whole art suddenly appears as a plinth on the plain of American letters."-Molly Peacock

In this probing exploration of motherhood, one of our most imaginative contemporary poets cuts through the pieties to the human issues spiraling around the Annunciation and the Virgin Mary. This is not a "religious" book by any means. Instead, we see a new slant on freedom, subjugation, and the mother-child relationship illuminated by interconnected fragments, lyrics, multiple choice questions, argument, and ancient texts. The Wanton Sublime rewards with formal invention and linguistic brilliance-blissful marriages of form and content.


Out of a vast silence, a spring spray, a drench of dew, all so still
into the cave of her body?

For mother read lover

For "like dew in April/That falleth on the flower" read
"like dew in April/That falleth to de-flower"

String theorists concede that their equations
are approximations to an unknown theory they call M-theory

standing for matrix, magic,
mystery of mother

as in mother of all theories
as in mother of us all

Anna Rabinowitz's volumes of poetry include Darkling, finalist for ForeWord Magazine's Best Poetry Book of 2001 Award, and At the Site of Inside Out, winner of the Juniper Prize. A former NEA Arts Fellow, she has published widely in such journals as Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, The Paris Review, and Best American Poetry 1989.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   112
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 6.5" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 20, 2006
Publisher   Tupelo Press
ISBN  1932195394  
ISBN13  9781932195392  

Availability  0 units.

More About Anna Rabinowitz

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anna Rabinowitz's previous books include DARKLING, a book-length acrostic poem which was a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's Best Poetry Book 2001, and AT THE SITE OF INSIDE OUT, winner of the Juniper Prize. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow for 2001, Ms. Rabinowitz has published widely in major journals as Atlantic Monthly, Boston Review, The Paris Review, and Doubletake.

Anna Rabinowitz was born in 1933.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Wanton Sublime?

A Difficult Task, Well Managed  Feb 15, 2007
(Anna Rabinowitz read as part of the Writer's Voice Visiting Authors Series at the West Side YMCA on 8 December 2006. This was my introduction):

Anna Rabinowitz' The Wanton Sublime approaches its topic from so many different angles, and with so many different poetic approaches, that the reader, confronted with the unfamiliar, could find entry into these poems somewhat difficult.

But instead, the overall effect of Anna's simultaneously rigorous yet playful use of language--alliterations running seemingly further than they could go, but working; breaking lines down to their crux without abandoning meaning; fearlessly extending them; doing anything but cleaving to the standard look and feel of a poem--rivets the reader.

With utter frankness and blunt honesty, and a generous helping of righteous anger and justice-seeking fury, The Wanton Sublime is both unique in its style, and hauntingly familiar in its meaning--the search for identity, both intensely personal and manifestly archetypal. By the time we get to the magisterial "It Is Time to Speak of the Lies," the work has taken on a feeling of magnitude, without ever becoming arrogant, self-regarding or strident. It is a difficult thing to do, but in this case, done magnificently.
Daring, Provactive and Super Super Smart  Oct 5, 2006
What if Mary wasn't who we've all always thought her to be? That's the question Anna Rabinowitz poses in this thought-provoking, linguistically daring, sometimes shocking collection.
In The Wanton Sublime, she treats Mary as an unwilling (unwitting?) participant in the conception of her son - was she raped, did she invite it, did she have a choice? To Rabinowitz, Mary isn't symbolic, she is flesh and blood, with feelings, perceptions, expectations, and disappointments. She is also unknowable, and so rather than make Mary a particular person, much of this book contemplates who she might have been, how she might have reacted to both The Annuncation, and then losing her son to world at large, and finally, to death.

Mary was, of course, a Jewish mother, so it's not so strange for Rabinowitz, whose previous book, Darkling, dealt primarily with a Jewish (i.e. Holocaust) theme to be tackling this issue. What is strange and uniquely wonderful is her voice: unafraid to question, unabashedly intelligent, and ranging from fiercely combative to remarkably tender, from anger to joy, terror to sorrow. It's a fascinating take on an under-examined topic.

This is not poetry for the "contemplating my navel" set, but for those who wish to see the world - and their own place in it - with new, daring eyes. Rabinowitz's eyes are so keenly observant, she makes it seem easy. But challenging the status quo never is.
This book challenges, questions, and entertains. A tour de force. A must for any serious reader of poetry, or serious student of The Annunciation.
Wanton and Sublime  Aug 21, 2006
It is both! Anna Rabinowitz has done it again. Having adapted and directed her book-length poem Darkling for the New York stage, I am intimately familiar with her poetry, and it is wonderful to read her recurring themes in new juxtapositions.

She is an underappreciated and truly radical writer who never ceases to amaze and shock. It is popular today to invent a new relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. But to be a Jewish mother and ruminate and muse over the identity and purpose of Mary, the mother of God, takes a lot of intelligence and frankly, a lot of chutzpah.

And Rabinowitz never shies away from sexuality, which makes this poem quite radical. I consider this work to be her personal New Testament (Darkling is the Old Testament, as it deals with most of her family's annihilation in World War II Poland). Read and study this sublime book of wantonness!

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