Written by the winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Pharaoh, Pharoah is a meditation on time, memory, inheritance, and the irony of loss-loss of one's land, of one's past, of love itself. With senses keenly attuned to every nuance of light and landscape, Claudia Emerson Andrews invests her lines with a scriptural fire. She captures equally and with apparent effortlessness the bewilderment of the culturally bereft in the "stuttered eloquence" of an auctioneer and the evanescence of appearances in the image of a dying firefly "coughing up light." In this postlapsarian pastoral of the modern Southeast, Andrews summons a cast of characters bound to times and places of desolation, yet unable to leave because it is that very desolation-the plagues, the scourges, the losses and heartbreak-that has defined them. Their collective cry of exultant despair is compressed in the astonishing final lines of "Plagues": "Pharaoh, Pharaoh, as if there were something keeping us, as if we could be let go." Andrews brings to these poems a vision so clear, so miraculously right, that the pages themselves seem suffused with the scents of sunlight and new-mown hay. Pharaoh, Pharaoh is a lovely, spellbinding reminder of what we discard, what we keep-and why.
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Published May 1, 1997
by Louisiana State Univ Pr.
Literature & Fiction.