Newsletter   Secure Checkout   Shopping Cart (0 Items)  
Search:    Welcome Guest! Save up to 30-40% on most items with our awesome everyday discounts!

A Box of Longing with 50 Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution [Paperback]

Our Price $ 9.07  
Retail Value $ 12.95  
You Save $ 3.89  (30%)  
Item Number 255468  
Buy New $9.07
Available on the Internet only.

Item description for A Box of Longing with 50 Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution by Jen Benka...

A poetic deconstruction of America through one of its key documents --- in the tradition of Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Allen Ginsburg --- this collection by noted poet-performer Jen Benka consists of one poem (in sequence) for each of the 52 words that comprise the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Her revision of America's secular prayer finds the unspoken hopes and frustrations of people marginalized from the political process. She expresses a profound regard for the possibility of America, while delineating the many ways in which America fails to deliver on its promise --- and below that, what is happening to the individual psyches within a nation that has lost faith in itself.

Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at!

Item Specifications...

Pages   55
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.75" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 10, 2005
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  1932360840  
ISBN13  9781932360844  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 12:32.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
Orders shipping to an address other than a confirmed Credit Card / Paypal Billing address may incur and additional processing delay.

More About Jen Benka

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Are You The Artisan or Author behind this product?
Improve our customers experience by registering for an Artisan Biography Center Homepage.

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
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Civil Rights & Liberties

Reviews - What do customers think about A Box of Longing with 50 Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution?

distilling the essence  Sep 14, 2008
This book has one of the greatest titles ever. I considered giving it 4 or 5 stars for the meaning behind the title alone.

As has been mentioned, this book is the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution with a poem for each individual word. Five minutes after I post this review I'll regret whichever number of stars I choose. Some of the poems I don't get, and they don't add anything to the overall scope of the book. One of the "the" poems, for instance. Others work amazingly well. All are brief. You could read this book five times a day without wasting your life away.

Capturing not so much the heart(s) of a nation, but the reality of a nation as diverse as the USA in so few words is impressive. Blind flagwavers will have problems with this book because it effectively gets to what has become the American Truth behind some of these words but the Truth is not what gets taught in American History classes.

Benka asks more than condemns. We are a box of longing with 50 drawers but the drawers aren't closed yet.

Soft Skull Press has so many great, interesting or powerful books. When visiting their website you'll always stumble across something that sounds like it has potential. I bought this at the same time as Surviving the Moment of Impact, which is more direct than this. That book is total heart. This one is more conceptual.
a box worth opening  Nov 15, 2005
I am always interested in the third thing-the option that goes beyond saying, in the case of the Constitution and its 200-year aftermath, "Yay, America, you can do no wrong!" or "Boo, America, you're a big slave-holding, imperialist jerk!" This poem captures all the complexities of living in a young, idealistic country that has often failed to live up to its ideals. Importantly, it captures the emotional complexities as well as the intellectual. While the form of the book follows an experimental tradition (is that an oxymoron?), it has a heart that Robert Frost fans (or people like myself, who read mostly narrative fiction) will appreciate too.

What Benka is able to convey in very small-aptly boxy-spaces, using simple words to riff on other simple words, is impressive. The labor and cleverness it clearly took to craft such poems is subtle. This is not lush, descriptive poetry, but it describes America perfectly.
Jen Benka, Of Thee I Sing  Oct 26, 2005
I don't remember ever seeing a book exactly like this one, and I give Jen Benka points for originality. She has a lot of imagination, it pops out of her like toast, and here she puts it to good stead by exploring the semantic implications of the US constitution. The famous "Preamble" that begins We the People is broken down and each word begins a new poem. In the process we find out that it is the USA, with its fifty states, that is the eponymous "box of longing with 50 drawers." Like Muriel Rukeyser, Benka directs her poetic in the service of the community, spreading her nets wide, yet narrowing them down enough to catch whatever fish she's after. Like Rukeyser's verse, the American sweep and ambition of Benka's project obliviates the need for any individually perfect poem, for as the old saying goes about men and streetcars, if you don't like the one, just wait and another will be along in a minute.

The best are Niedecker-like indications of specific moments in US history, purified and calcified to the merest, feathery suggestion of what power, what blood, turned our nation from a dream into a crushing weight of iron.

Sometimes the poetry can seem a little naive, with preachy utterance and a Youngbloods/Hayley Mills reiteration to "let's get together," downplaying its difficulty. But most of the time Benka succeeds admirably in a project which, while continually flirting with agitprop, never succumbs to mere rhetoric. The poems have a strength and their unity provokes reaction.

Spicer said that theoretically the perfect poem has an infinitely small vocabulary, and I wonder if Benka kept this suggestion in mind while composing the quiet, small poems of this book. I must have the second edition because the book I have looks completely different than the one pictured above. My copy is basically red with fifty lavender-colored rectangles pictured on it. Hmm, glad to see it's doing well!

Write your own review about A Box of Longing with 50 Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution

Ask A Question or Provide Feedback regarding A Box of Longing with 50 Drawers: A Revisioning of the Preamble to the Constitution

Item Feedback and Product Questions
For immediate assistance call 888.395.0572 during the hours of 10am thru 8pm EST Monday thru Friday and a customer care representative will be happy to help you!

Help us continuously improve our service by reporting your feedback or questions below:

I have a question regarding this product
The information above is incorrect or conflicting
The page has misspellings or incorrect grammar
The page did not load correctly in my browser or created an error.

Email Address:
Anti Spam Question. To combat spammers we require that you answer a simple question.
What color is the sky?
Leave This Blank :
Do Not Change This Text :

Add This Product Widget To Your Website

Looking to add this information to your own website? Then use our Product Widget to allow you to display product information in a frame that is 120 pixels wide by 240 pixels high.

    Copy and paste the following HTML into your website and enjoy!

Order toll-free weekdays 10am thru 10pm EST by phone: 1-888-395-0572 (Lines are closed on holidays & weekends.)
Customer Service | My Account | Track My Orders | Return Policy | Request Free Catalog | Email Newsletter

Gift Certificates
RSS Feeds
About Us
Contact Us
Terms Of Use
Privacy Policy