In the Lateness of the World

In the Lateness of the World

4.08 (210 ratings by Goodreads)
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Carolyn Forche is one of America's most important contemporary poets - renowned as a 'poet of witness' - as well as an indefatigable human rights activist. Over four decades, she has crafted visionary work that has reinvigorated poetry's power to awaken the reader. Her groundbreaking poems have been testimonies, enquiries and wonderments. They daringly map a territory where poetry asserts our inexhaustible responsibility to each other. In the Lateness of the World is a dark book of crossings, of migrations across oceans and borders but also between the present and the past, life and death. The poems call to the reader from the end of the world where they are sifting through the aftermath of history. Forche imagines a place where 'you could see everything at once... every moment you have lived or place you have been'. The world here seems to be steadily vanishing, but in the moments before the uncertain end, an illumination arrives and 'there is nothing that cannot be seen'. In the Lateness of the World is a revelation from one of the finest poets writing today. Her meditative poetry has a majestic sweep, with themes ranging from life on earth and human existence to history, war, genocide and the Holocaust. In the Lateness of the World is her first new collection in seventeen years, and follows three other collections published by Bloodaxe in Britain, The Country Between Us (1981/2018), The Angel of History (1994) and Blue Hour (2003). Jane Miller called Blue Hour 'a masterwork for the 21st century'. According to Joyce Carol Oates (New York Times Book Review), Forche's ability to wed the "political" with the "personal" places her in the company of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Philip Levine and Denise Levertov.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 80 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 12mm | 164g
  • Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1852249641
  • 9781852249649
  • 71,946

Table of contents

15 Museum of Stones
16 The Boatman
17 Water Crisis
18 Report from an Island
19 The Last Puppet
21 The Lightkeeper
22 The Crossing
23 Exile
24 Fisherman
25 For Ilya at Tsarskoye Selo
26 The Lost Suitcase
28 Last Bridge
30 Elegy for an Unknown Poet
32 Letter to a City Under Siege
33 Travel Papers
38 The Refuge of Art
40 A Room
45 The Ghost of Heaven
48 Ashes to Guazapa
49 Hue: From a Notebook
50 Morning on the Island
51 A Bridge
52 The End of Something
53 Early Life
54 Tapestry
55 Visitation
56 In Time of War
57 Lost Poem
58 Charmolypi
59 Souffrance
60 Sanctuary
61 Uninhabited
62 Clouds
63 Passage
64 Light of Sleep
65 Theologos
67 Mourning
68 Transport
69 Early Confession
70 Toward the End
72 What Comes

75 Dedications and notes
76 Acknowledgements
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Review quote

It has been 17 years since Carolyn Forche published a book of poems, and In the Lateness of the World announces she is back. Coming fast on the heels of her memoir of last year this book is bursting with poems of migration, crossing, and looking back. It is as if the poet is standing, one foot in the river, wondering which way the next crossing will go. Drawing on her own travels and periods of reporting, on the world's seemingly endless upheaval, these poems move beyond disquiet and creates the charged ethical field in which we all live, all the time, especially at that moment we move. -- John Freeman * Lit Hub * Carolyn Forche makes a complex voice for all the mute victims of our destructive world as the killing goes on and the patterns of our lives continue our committed self-destruction. Hers is the heroism which still cares. -- Robert Creeley Part of poetry's tragic knowledge is that elegy is endless. Yet in its power to recall and to memorialise, elegy also effaces time and reinvests loss, the lost, with life. It is a form of overcoming, essential to our knowing of, and dwelling in, the present and to our becoming human... Carolyn Forche is one of the contemporary masters of that form, that act. -- Michael Palmer Again Carolyn Forche hovers above the lacerated landscape of history filling the holes "between saying and said". Blue Hour does not console but emboldens. The fear we share is never dodged. This singular voice is writ in bone, snow, coal, stone and sorrow. -- C.D. Wright
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About Carolyn Forche

Carolyn Forche was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, and has taught at several universities. She was Director of Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, and held the Lannan Visiting Chair in Poetry at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, where she is now a University Professor. Her many honours include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award, given in 1997 for using her poetry as a 'means to attain understanding, reconciliation, and peace within communities and between communities'; and most recently, Yale University's Windham-Campbell Prize. Her first collection, Gathering the Tribes (1976), was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets by Stanley Kunitz. Her second book, The Country Between Us (1981; UK reissue from Bloodaxe, 2019), drew on her experiences in El Salvador before and during the civil war, and won the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was the Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her later collections have drawn upon work written over many years: The Angel of History (HarperCollins, USA; Bloodaxe Books, 1994), Blue Hour (HarperCollins, USA; Bloodaxe Books, 2003), and In the Lateness of the World (Bloodaxe Books, UK; Penguin Press, USA, 2020). Her landmark anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (Norton, 1993), was followed by Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English: 1500-2001 (Norton, 2014), edited with Duncan Wu. She is Visiting Professor at Newcastle University, and edited the anthology The Mighty Stream: Poems in celebration of Martin Luther King (Bloodaxe Books / Newcastle University, 2017) with Jackie Kay. Her memoir What You Have Heard Is True: a memoir of witness and resistance (2019) was published by Penguin at the same time as Bloodaxe's UK reissue of her 1981 collection The Country Between Us, which covers the same period as the memoir. Her translations include Mahmoud Darwish's Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems (with Munir Akash, 2003), Claribel Alegria's Flowers from the Volcano (1983), and Robert Desnos's Selected Poetry (with William Kulik, 1991).
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Rating details

210 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 39% (81)
4 36% (76)
3 20% (43)
2 4% (9)
1 0% (1)
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