Book of Lamenting, The

(ISBN: 978-1-934695-26-5 )
Anhinga Press (Publisher)
2011 Tallahassee
92 pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Language(s): English

Lory Bedikian's The Book of Lamenting begins within a foundation of lyricism -- "On the back of every tongue in my family/ there is a dove that lives and dies." Bedikian recognizes the genuine world of the imagination, one we inhabit but often lose sight of -- a world with "floating hieroglyphics of flame," where sometimes one must "[e]mpty your pockets/ of the noise you carry" and "count olives/ in place of coins." Wisdom rises up through the losses in Bedikian's poetry. One poem begins -- "The year 1997 rose like a spiral staircase/ into a ceiling of darkness." The Book of Lamenting ascends into the darkness in a similar way -- bringing us gifts of light and memory, so that the small doves at the back of every tongue might sing. -- 2010 Levine Prize judge Brian Turner These are poems that make a rare intersection between history, the intimacy of memory and an unswerving attention to craft. They are attentive and melodic and we follow the speaker from dark to light, and back again, in poem after poem. This is a wonderful debut collection. -- Eavan Boland Lory Bedikian's The Book of Lamenting is a well-made vessel of inherited memory and experience where family becomes a country -- a country of the soul that matures on the border of an urbane psyche. Each poem brims with darkness and light that reflect personal and cultural tensions. Thus, the emotional landscape here is rounded and shaped through an imaginative exactness and sobriety. A pure pleasure lives in The Book of Lamenting, but never purely for the sake of art; these fluid, urgent lines engage the humanity we all share through memory. -- Yusef Komunyakaa

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