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Leviathan With a Hook

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Kimberly Johnson's dazzling first collection is rooted in the land and language she inherits, then claims for her own. Informed throughout by Milton's Paradise Lost, Johnson's poems burst with the flora and fauna of a magnificently imagined landscape, and gain their power from the incomparable language she uses to describe it. This language is itself an organism in her wri Kimberly Johnson's dazzling first collection is rooted in the land and language she inherits, then claims for her own. Informed throughout by Milton's Paradise Lost, Johnson's poems burst with the flora and fauna of a magnificently imagined landscape, and gain their power from the incomparable language she uses to describe it. This language is itself an organism in her writing, grown from its own seed, its "vowels blooming like necessary globes/with sharp, consonantal edges." Her voice is wholly new and unique; Leviathan with a Hook heralds the arrival of one of the new standard-bearers of American verse.


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Kimberly Johnson's dazzling first collection is rooted in the land and language she inherits, then claims for her own. Informed throughout by Milton's Paradise Lost, Johnson's poems burst with the flora and fauna of a magnificently imagined landscape, and gain their power from the incomparable language she uses to describe it. This language is itself an organism in her wri Kimberly Johnson's dazzling first collection is rooted in the land and language she inherits, then claims for her own. Informed throughout by Milton's Paradise Lost, Johnson's poems burst with the flora and fauna of a magnificently imagined landscape, and gain their power from the incomparable language she uses to describe it. This language is itself an organism in her writing, grown from its own seed, its "vowels blooming like necessary globes/with sharp, consonantal edges." Her voice is wholly new and unique; Leviathan with a Hook heralds the arrival of one of the new standard-bearers of American verse.

30 review for Leviathan With a Hook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

    Since I first stumbled across it several years ago, Johnson's A Metaphorical God: Poems has just about established itself as my favorite collection of contemporary poetry; I was happy to discover this, which preceeded it, is nearly as good. Johnson works with topics—nature and rural living—that I generally don't respond to, and proceeds to channel it through a heavy dose of Milton and Biblical literature (another potential reason for pause), but she has the knack of the Metaphysicals—another obv Since I first stumbled across it several years ago, Johnson's A Metaphorical God: Poems has just about established itself as my favorite collection of contemporary poetry; I was happy to discover this, which preceeded it, is nearly as good. Johnson works with topics—nature and rural living—that I generally don't respond to, and proceeds to channel it through a heavy dose of Milton and Biblical literature (another potential reason for pause), but she has the knack of the Metaphysicals—another obvious source of inspiration—of slyly upturning the familiar and in that moment of temporary chaos conjures up brief meditations and observations glistening with insight and wonder. Her ability to unexpectedly render anew the mystery and grandeur of the stars in a night sky, that musty old chestnut of Romantic poetry, is for me the highlight of both volumes. "Beyond the treetops... stars. White fires, scar-white, white splinters in the palm of night. They heave and spin toward the western edge, toward the city haze." —from "Blessed Word Apocalypse"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    Been a while since I really read this, but it's an enjoyable collection of predominantly nature poems, lots of gardening type stuff in here, sensual metaphor (or not metaphor-- I'll never see an apple the same way again). Hasn't hit me the same way that some of Wilbur's poems do, but maybe the better I get at reading poetry the more "pertinent" or meaningful the poems will seem to me, and in any case, these are quite beautiful. Been a while since I really read this, but it's an enjoyable collection of predominantly nature poems, lots of gardening type stuff in here, sensual metaphor (or not metaphor-- I'll never see an apple the same way again). Hasn't hit me the same way that some of Wilbur's poems do, but maybe the better I get at reading poetry the more "pertinent" or meaningful the poems will seem to me, and in any case, these are quite beautiful.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey Ellis

    Vivid. Love her.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cassa

    Read this for class; didn't find it particularly engaging, as I'm not one for outdoor/nature imagery. Read this for class; didn't find it particularly engaging, as I'm not one for outdoor/nature imagery.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellen A.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andromache

  7. 5 out of 5

    lacifer

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan McIlvain

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katja

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eve

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christine Delea

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pooley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelseyr

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lynn

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  21. 5 out of 5

    Saanii

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg Cowen

  23. 4 out of 5

    John

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alex Joyner

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aseem Kaul

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  27. 5 out of 5

    J.R. Miller

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meg Day

  29. 4 out of 5

    Warren

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

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