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The Mending Worm [Paperback]

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Item description for The Mending Worm by Joan Houlihan...

Winner of the 2005 Green Rose Prize in Poetry.

"Joan Houlihan's images and figures are lapidary, her diction alert and startling, her lines chiseled, their sounds echoing back and forth, and yet for all the exquisite craft in these poems, there is something terrible and wild underneath their surfaces. Feral animals are prowling through them. Her typical landscape is a desolate, snowy shoreline. 'What the sea dredges up in the dark' writes Houlihan, 'is sand tooth, fishbone, spine, / hard fruit of tide.' So too this book delivers hard news. There are murderers about to be executed, and cancers to be survived maybe. Injury and pain is at the heart of being, but as the title poem tells us, there is also a mending impulse, a restoration to be humbly sought or created. It is something, as Houlihan writes, 'we can do together.' The Mending Worm gives us poems that in their art and authenticity render whole that which has been shattered. Read them and you will see." ---Fred Marchant

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Item Specifications...

Pages   79
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 6" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   New Issues Poetry Press
ISBN  1930974590  
ISBN13  9781930974593  

Availability  0 units.

More About Joan Houlihan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! In addition to AY: POEMS, Joan Houlihan's previous books are THE US, named a must-read of 2009 by Massachusetts Center for the Book, THE MENDING WORM, winner of the Green Rose Award from New Issues Press, and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays. Her work has been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press) and The Book of Irish-American Poetry: Eighteenth Century to Present (University of Notre Dame Press). She is a contributing critic for the Contemporary Poetry Review and author of Boston Comment, a series of essays on contemporary American poetry archived at She is founder and director of the Concord Poetry Center and the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and she has taught at Columbia University and Emerson College. Currently on the faculty of Lesley University's Low- Residency MFA Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she also teaches part-time at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Joan Houlihan was born in 1951.

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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 Mending Worm?

Winner of the New Issues Green Rose Prize, book offers pleasures as it evokes emotional truths...  Dec 3, 2006
Winner of the New Issues Green Rose Prize, Joan Houlihan's second book offers many pleasures as it evokes its manifold emotional truths, including those connected with mother love, the later states of a love affair, and growing old. Through chiseled language, syntactic twists and word auras, sounds, and her use of the line break--its significance felt in the context of the whole complex physiology of each poem--Houlihan convinces us to believe in each poem's narrator and situation.

Through motherlove of her child, Houlihan's narrator transforms her own personal darkness ("Now come here so I can see / in your eyes the sky within.") yet has offered her child his own flight ("...child at the start of man, / your silhouette tensed in windshield light / and the new way you speak..."). Despair in erotic love is tinged more with sadness than hostility ("There is only one way to speak of this: / as a joy no longer curable"), recognition of a larger love now it is well past first heat ("She is bent to a matter made new, has gone / Intimate, abundant in it."). Rather than resigning herself to growing old, her narrator welcomes new eras. ("Why does the maker keep me awake? / He must want my oddments, their glow.")

Houlihan is required reading for everyone who loves life, poetry, the arts. Like "fears...privately boxed," her poems repel and attract. They stir those lights and darks so deeply ingrained in memory and in imagination.

Allegra Wong

A passionate, varied, an delightfully consumable collection.  Nov 5, 2006
Written by award-winning poet Joan Houlihan, The Mending Worm is a free-verse poetry collection of brief verses that nonetheless resonate with the very impression of the moment. Each short poem exquisitely captures the essence of experiencing its subject, from rationing in 1945 to the clumsy motions of a somnambulist to the incurable condition that is ardor. A passionate, varied, an delightfully consumable collection. "Preparing Migration": Perfected in high chambers, massed / among leaves, they are many-bodied / and ready to obey / as air changes to its one right pitch. // Inched into moth-hammered sleeves, / autumn feeds its hundred / as they mince along the branch / unstable in their need to lift, then // all wing and hinge, they raise. / This is the way I want you - / as long-awaited, as sudden.

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