Certain Magical Acts by Alice Notley
(Penguin Poets)

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Synopsis

An important new work of poetry from Alice Notley, winner of the 2015 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

Alice Notley has become one of the most highly regarded figures in American poetry, a master of the visionary mode acclaimed for genre-bending book-length poems of great ambition and adventurousness.  Her newest work sets out to explore the world and its difficulties, from the recent economic crisis and climate change to the sorrow of violence and the disappointment of democracy or any other political system.  Notley channels these themes in a mix of several longer poems - one is a kind of spy novella in which the author is discovered to be a secret agent of the dead, another an extended message found in a manuscript in a future defunct world - with some unique shorter pieces.  Varying formally between long expansive lines, a mysteriously cohering sequence in meters reminiscent of ancient Latin, a narration with a postmodern broken surface, and the occasional sonnet, these are grand poems, inviting the reader to be grand enough to survive, spiritually, a planet's ruin.
 

About Alice Notley

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Alice Notley (born 8 November 1945) is an American poet. She was born in Bisbee, Arizona and grew up in Needles, California. She received a B.A from Barnard College in 1967 and an M.F.A. from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1969. She married poet Ted Berrigan in 1972, with whom she was active in the Chicago poetry scene and with whom she had two sons. In the early 70s she became rooted in New York's Lower East Side, where she was an important force from 1976 through 1992. After Berrigan died in 1983, Notley raised their two sons in New York's East Village by herself for several years while continuing to develop her poetry. In 1992 she moved to Paris with her second husband, the British poet Douglas Oliver (1937-2000). She lives in Paris currently, making several trips to the United States each year to give readings and teach writing classes.
 
Published June 7, 2016 by Penguin Books. 157 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Certain Magical Acts

This far-ranging new work from Notley, a Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winner, opens in a dreamscape ("I couldn't sleep in my dream. …/ Distortion's all that I know") and unfolds in a stately, reflective manner to become an indictment of the disaffected contemporary wor

Jun 15 2016 | Read Full Review of Certain Magical Acts (Penguin...