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Cloud Journal [Paperback]

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Item Number 242602  
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Item description for Cloud Journal by David Rigsbee...

Cloud Journal by David Rigsbee is a collection of two sonnet sequences. The first sequence, "Sonnets to Hamlet," narrates the tragedy of a fire in the Imperial Foods chicken processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina, that killed twenty-five people. The second sequence, "Cloud Journal," is an extended meditation on place and perception. Rigsbee's book shows both his own mastery of this classical form and the potential of the form itself, to accommodate narrative and lyric with a contemporary voice.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   80
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.19"
Weight:   0.28 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 5, 2008
Publisher   WordTech Communications
ISBN  1934999024  
ISBN13  9781934999028  

Availability  0 units.

More About David Rigsbee

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! DAVID RIGSBEE is Professor of English and Chair of the Department of Language and Literature at Mount Olive College in North Carolina.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Cloud Journal?

Southern Baroque  May 22, 2008
In a recent review, Al Alvarez remarked that few poets today read Robert Southwell for pleasure. Although the subject of his review was Geoffrey Hill, it might well have been David Rigsbee, whose "Sonnets to Hamlet," the first of two sonnet sequences in his new Cloud Journal," begins with a quotation from Southwell's "The Burning Babe" (as well as one from Hamlet). Southwell's figure is a thread running through the sequence, which takes as its occasion a fire in a chicken processing plant in Hamlet, NC, in which 25 workers lost their lives due to the plant's policy of keeping all doors locket to prevent theft. The facts of the fire are in evidence of the poems, but Rigsbee doesn't dwell on them. Rigsbee is a Southerner, white and working class by birth, and one feels in these poems a human solidarity that refuses to reduce the dead to victims. Rather, he carries us quickly and surely from the glimpsed world into one that counts not only social justice but the possibilities for consolation in the face of tragic loss.

Rigsbee handles his material with what I would describe as a Southern Baroque sensibility. But the vision of the sonnets is not, finally, Christian, and John Coltrane, a native son of Hamlet, offers in his music more by way of consolation and meaning than does traditional faith. In this, Rigsbee follows one of his mentors, Richard Rorty.

The sonnets in the second sequence are equally rich and equally demanding. "Cloud Journal" is dedicated to the poet's mother, whose last days provide less the occasion than the spur for meditations on mortality and all of its time-frames. The elemental looms large in these poems, as does human frailty. These are poems that quietly begin from the great facts of time and change and engage them with the resources of poet and philosopher, reaching no great claims or solutions but a richness of affirmations of "certain / acuities" in the face of the otherness of the world.

Both series showcase Rigsbee's versatile and accomplished handlings of the verse form as well as his probing sympathy and intelligence, his pursuit in poems of what escapes our other ways with words. If we are beyond the point at which the sonnet can be put to radically novel uses, we are not beyond the point where such seamless handling of the form as Rigsbee's deserves our praises. These are wonderful poems, demanding, and rewarding the attention they ask.

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