The Laughter of the Sphinx by Michael Palmer

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This book is, after all, about time and the evanescence of time. Palmer does not reach conclusions. He does not instruct. He transcribes with a lucent clarity; he transcribes in poems that echo the motion and the music, the darkness and the light.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

A powerful, indelible new collection by Michael Palmer—“one of America’s most important poets” (The Harvard Review)


Michael Palmer’s new book—a collection in two parts, “The Laughter of the Sphinx” and “Still (a cantata—or nada—for Sister Satan)”—contains 52 poems.


The title poem begins “The laughter of the Sphinx / caused my eyes to bleed” and haunts us with the ruin we are making of our world, even as Palmer revels in its incredible beauty. Such central tensions in The Laughter of the Sphinx—between beauty and loss, love and death, motion and rest, knowledge and ignorance—glow in Palmer’s lyrical play of light and entirely hypnotize the reader. The stakes, as always with Palmer, are very high, essentially life and death: “Please favor us with a reply / regarding our one-time offer / which will soon expire.”

 

About Michael Palmer

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Michael Palmer is a widely read author whose Moral Problems (Lutterworth Press, 1991) is a core text in schools and colleges. He has taught at Marlborough College and Bristol University and was Head of the Religion and Philosophy Department at Manchester Grammar School. He was formerly a Teaching Fellow at McMaster University and Humboldt Fellow at Marburg University.
 
Published June 28, 2016 by New Directions. 96 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Laughter of the Sphinx
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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Laverne Frith on Jun 27 2016

This book is, after all, about time and the evanescence of time. Palmer does not reach conclusions. He does not instruct. He transcribes with a lucent clarity; he transcribes in poems that echo the motion and the music, the darkness and the light.

Read Full Review of The Laughter of the Sphinx | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Laverne Frith on Jun 27 2016

This book is, after all, about time and the evanescence of time. Palmer does not reach conclusions. He does not instruct. He transcribes with a lucent clarity; he transcribes in poems that echo the motion and the music, the darkness and the light.

Read Full Review of The Laughter of the Sphinx | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books