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The Preacher: A Poem (Quarternote Chapbook Series) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Preacher: A Poem (Quarternote Chapbook Series) by Gerald Stern...

"The Preacher's a poem with polyphonic voices, enormous range, and many of Stern's familiar icons: his animism, his city grit, his philosophical fragments, his irony and justice quest, his reaching for the strain of memory."-Ira Sadoff

Gerald Stern is the author of fourteen poetry books, including This Time: New and Selected Poems, which won the 1998 National Book Award. He taught at the Iowa Writers' Workshop for fifteen years, and he is the recipient of many awards, including the Lamont Poetry Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, and the National Jewish Book Award for poetry.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5.75" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.12 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2007
Publisher   Sarabande Books
ISBN  1932511547  
ISBN13  9781932511543  

Availability  0 units.

More About Gerald Stern

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Stern is the recipient of many awards, including the Lamont Prize, a Guggenheim, three NEA awards, a fellowship from The Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Ruth Lilly Prize. He has taught at many universities, including Columbia University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Pittsburgh. He is now retired.

Gerald Stern currently resides in Lamberville, in the state of New Jersey. Gerald Stern was born in 1925.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Preacher: A Poem (Quarternote Chapbook Series)?

Stern does it again  Aug 29, 2008
Gerald Stern is one of America's foremost poets. This little poem is one to study for weeks ... great work.
Existentialism and Starbucks Coffee  Oct 31, 2007
Gerald Stern's exploration of a hole in the universe in his long poem The Preacher envelopes the reader in imagination, thought process, and humour. Through the philosophical discussions between two men the reader is taken on a journey through the mind. The poem embodies a stream of consciousness feeling at times, and at other times, takes the reader on a similar journey found in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. The language is rich and the punctuation is almost non-existent. The recurring theme of holes and how or why to repair them comes up throughout the poem while the conversation between the two men seems to drift in and out of reality. Stern's rhythm ads to the poem's surreal effect and the meter has a tendency to push the reader forward through the poem.
Stern begins with his discovery of holes:

As if the one tree you loved so well and hardly
can embrace it is so huge so that with-
out it there might be a hole in the universe
explains how the killing of any one thing can
likewise make a hole except that without
its existence there was neither a hole nor not a hole

From the very beginning of his poem the reader is completely immersed, without warning, in the language and existential thought of the speaker. The lack of punctuation creates a continuum of sound and connectivity between words, making it difficult for the reader to pause and think about what is being said. However, I think Stern's intent is to push the reader through a maze of sounds and images while exploring an issue that is even too complex for the speaker to grasp. This lack of punctuation can be discouraging since the only chance to pause and digest what was read is at commas and stanza breaks, but the effect that it has on the sound and meaning is beautiful. The meter and rhythm of the poem is fast but written in iambs which helps the reader process it as spoken word and also enhances the lack of punctuation and the quickness with which it reads.
The language is rich. Each stanza focuses on a few descriptive words and those images and sounds become repetitive for that stanza, once again helping to enhance the theme of stream of conscious existential thought. The insertion of dialogue throughout the poem brings the reader back to reality if only for a few lines and restates the recurring question of the hole in the universe and what to do about, where the speaker offers the simple solution to "repair it!"
The poem's historical and biblical references merge nicely with the mention of modern luxuries such as Starbucks coffee. This mixture of old and new gives the reader something to think about while also providing references that the reader can relate to on a very every day level.
The language and rhythm mix together in Stern's work to create a sound that seems to come from somewhere beyond the reader's grasp. The reader is given a piece of thought that has been dissected carefully and fully by the speaker with enough holes to allow the reader to apply the poem to their own experiences.

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