Cinder: New and Selected Poems
"One of the finest poets of the last fifty years." --Salt
to the Nth, like the truth of an ending
unskeined across the crust of the white field.
Though it happened only once, I
am sending the thought
of the thought
To return to
the field before the mowing.
When a goldfinch swayed
on a blue stem stalk,
and the wind and the sun
stirred the hay.
--from "After the Mowing"
Cinder: New and Selected Poems gathers for the first time poetry from across Susan Stewart's thirty-five-year career, including many extraordinary new poems. From brief songs to longer meditative sequences, and always with formal innovation and exquisite precision, Stewart evokes the innocence of childhood, the endangered mysteries of the natural world, and deeply felt perceptions, both acute and shared.
"Stewart explores our insatiable desire to remember and make meaning out of this remembering," Ange Mlinko writes in The Nation. "Stewart's elegiac bent has broadened, over time, from the personal lyric . . . to what might be called the cultural lyric. Fewer and fewer of her poems reference what she alone remembers; they are about what you and I remember."
Reading across this retrospective collection is a singular experience of seeing the unfolding development of one of the most ingenious and moving lyric writers in contemporary poetry.
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About the Author
"[Cinder] brings together the best writing from this singular poet, who masterfully explores the intersection of language, the external world and human consciousness. . . . [Susan Stewart] demonstrates the richness and fluidity of thought."--Washington Post
"Stewart's poetry stresses to us that we will always have to try again to find the words that will fix and hold our experience, as she herself will surely be trying again. In the meantime Cinder offers a rich sample of the bounty collected in her nets so far."--Boston Review
"By every definition Stewart makes poetry worthy of its place in our lives."--Washington Independent Review of Books
"Susan Stewart writes the kind of poem, virtuosic and illuminating, that goes on giving warmth and light long after the proverbial switch has been flipped off."--The American Poetry Review
"[Cinder] showcases Stewart's accomplished and ongoing exploration of poetry as musical, embodied thinking. . . . Her poems are grounded in a deep, assured prosody. . . . [They] carve a space between knowing and unknowing, inviting the luminous and the obscure in equal measure. . . . Stewart primes readers to listen with the attentiveness from which her poems arise."--Publishers Weekly
"Stewart is not a poet to miss, which makes this New and Selected an exciting opportunity."--Library Journal
"MacArthur fellow Stewart's first, career-spanning collection represents 35 years of thought-provoking poems and proves that she continues to rekindle the fires of her creativity and perception, along with those of her readers. . . . Stewart's poems evoke wonder by building layers of knowledgeable observations, only to let them all dissolve and begin again. . . . Stewart's poetry inspires by virtue of the poet's seeking discovery yet resisting final answers."--Booklist
"Cinder: New and Selected Poems is a gift to literature, language, and these reachings into the 'natural' recesses of the human psyche. She challenges the givens, challenges the damage being done in so many ways. One of the most literary-aware of all poets writing in English, she reinvents form to make constantly anew." --John Kinsella
"The opportunity to hold the arc of such a remarkable poet's oeuvre in the palm of your hand is truly a rare gift. Simply put, this is an absolutely outstanding poetry collection. . . . Cinder is brilliant, vibrant, and essential reading."--Rowan Ricardo Phillips
"It is a moment for Susan Stewart's Cinder to come into the world--her first book which contains a generous and carefully chosen selection of her work, spanning more than three decades of her transformations. Her poems surge with the wyrd frisson of the quotidian brushing up against the Unordinary. The poems mend; the poems tear. They keep vigil with the cerebral--the linguistic and the formally inventive--and keep company, as well, with the devotional, the playful, the political. And who is more wise than Stewart, more artful, more deft than she?"--Lucie Brock-Broido
"Susan Stewart's achievement, in a career spanning almost forty years and showcased in Cinder: New and Selected Poems, is remarkable and virtually unique among contemporary American poets. . . . What Stewart accomplishes is nothing less than the reenchantment of the world."--John Koethe
"The particular wonder that is Susan Stewart as both incisive poet and path-breaking scholar manifests itself throughout this illuminating, at moments incantatory, gathering. Her measures explore the world's appearances, incidents, and accidents with care and acuity, teasing forth their music and mysteries by means of a patient, yet relentless, and relentlessly human, focus."--Michael Palmer
"At the edge of lyric practice lies an understanding that all things, all beings, exist not as totalities but as--and in--passages. Susan Stewart's poetry affirms the relational nature of lyric structures, as they touch the fragility and durability of human experience. . . . Within her work's rich sensorium resides an understanding of poetry's unique capacity to celebrate, to conjure, and to mourn. Cinder is a landmark edition by one of the major intellects of contemporary American letters."--Elizabeth Willis
"Susan Stewart seems to draw her experience from a source deeper than the level of rational clarification. She has at least two voices: one delicate, coming close to what we associate with the organic, having the force and pliancy of young trees, young flowers, young grass; and a second one, tough and realistic, like in '1936' or 'Cinder.' How interesting the contrast. How fascinating."--Adam Zagajewski