“All That Gorgeous, Pitiless Song brims with amplitude and vitality. By virtue of her unsentimental warmth of spirit, Foust brings to life an immense range of experience and feeling. This poet’s emotional intelligence correlates, too, with her formal skill, that unique talent for phrase and rhythm with which she makes a whole world palpable, from the hugest events that mark a life to those moments as subtle as ‘some nuance you knew once like breath.’ Rebecca Foust is a superb poet, and All That Gorgeous, Pitiless Song is a tremendous book.” –Peter Campion
“Rebecca Foust moves us with passion and intelligence as she broods over what ‘divides false / from true.’ Her voice, attuned to beauty and hope though often engaged with the hard news of life, startles in its honest, unstinting inventiveness. She writes of generations, of hardscrabble origins, of striving against odds, of motherhood, nature, intimate triumphs and woes. This is poetry of the greatest promise, a book not to be missed.” –Barry Spacks
ATGPS won the 2008 MMM Book Prize and will be released at AWP in April 2010. About this book Susan Griffin has written, “I find the poems astonishingly strong and beautiful. It’s not common for me to find an unpublished collection of poems as good as this one.”
WHAT I THOUGHT
This book of poetry was rewarded with five stars from me. I loved it!
I have read some great reviews about All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song and I must say I cannot compete with them and so I will not try to be overly fancy with my words. I don’t have a deep understanding of poetry and I have not read a lot of poetry but I know what I like and what I don’t like and I will say again, I loved it! So following is a review in layman’s terms.
Once again I have to thank Rebecca Foust for opening my eyes to the world of poetry. All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song is the second collection I have read of Rebecca’s (God, Seed being the first I read) and it is my favourite. It really touched me in ways I cannot explain. It was an emotional journey for me – quite literally! I was reading this on the bus on the way to work one morning and wham-o, out come the tears! Rebecca has used her words to create a very deep and intimate sense of feeling and I just could not help succumbing to those tears on the bus.
Four poems which stood out for me were ‘Moon on Snow’, ‘Mineshaft Memory’, ‘How the Fish Feels’ and ‘Raystown River Trout’.
‘Moon on Snow’ describes a father’s body shutting down and ‘Mineshaft Memory’ demonstrates a sense of being lost when someone you love is no longer. These two pieces make you question yourself and how you would react in similar circumstances. They cut right through to my heart. I dare you to read these and not shed a tear.
‘How the Fish Feels’ is about how a fish is caught and killed and ‘Raystown River Trout’ is about catching a fish and wishing you didn’t. These made me think of how defenceless fish are and how we as humans pluck them from their environment in order to give ourselves something tasty to eat. Poor fish. It made me remember when I was in primary school I wrote a similar piece in relation to chickens. I don’t think my teacher would have eaten chicken for at least a month after that one, if not longer.
I say those four stood out for me but really the whole collection was touching and eerily beautiful.
Thank you, Rebecca, for providing me with your collections of poetry, especially this one.