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A lyrical new volume from a poet “beyond the achievement of all but a double handful of living American poets” (Harold Bloom).
With irony, in mourning tinged with eros, one of our most extraordinary poets blends the personal and the political to meditate on damage, aging, and injustice. The poems in So Forth surge back in memory, pondering guilt and forgiveness. Consciousness flows from singular to plural; identity in these poems does a round dance with other personae, with formidable women artists of the past in the powerful sequence “Legende of Good Women,” with pre-Socratic philosophers, and with lovers, children, and strangers—the strangest of whom is the face in the mirror. In response to griefs both historical and contemporary, So Forth contemplates the quest for the holy and traditions of the sacred.
About the Author
Rosanna Warren is the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry, Departure, and Ghost in a Red Hat. She has been awarded the Sara Teasdale Prize for Poetry, three Pushcart Prizes, the Readers’ Digest Award and the recipient of awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters (Award of Merit in Poetry and the Witter Bynner Prize), the Academy of American Poets (Lamont Poetry Prize and the Lavan Younger Poets Prize), the Lila Wallace Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the New England Poetry Club (May Sarton Prize) and the Nation Discovery Award. She was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999 to 2005, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
The enrichments and diminishments of aging, ambivalence in the context of intimacy, the refinements and depredations of culture, and how woman artists (including the poet herself) absorb and resist the expressive norms and structures largely devised by men, these are the concerns that animate the poems in Rosanna Warren’s new collection, So Forth. An unforgettable book by one of our essential poets.
— Alan Shapiro, author of Against Translation
Rosanna Warren is a writer I read immediately, no matter the place or time: her manner is enticingly high, and the stuff is harrowingly everyday. So Forth has all the signature elegance, all the learning, the hunger, but the book is newly vulnerable, both personally and politically. Warren allows for the biggest laugh while making room for tears, and these poems feel like life itself—which ought to be the simplest but is the hardest thing of all.
— James Longenbach, author of Earthling
'My heart was torn open and now it’s all window,’ writes Rosanna Warren in this unforgettable, untamed, unrelenting book. While her country ‘hurls itself away,’ becomes a nightmare of ‘police state,’ a place of ‘camps, / children in camps’ the poet tells us we must persist, despite it all, we ‘we must go on with our mysterious work.’ There is wisdom in these pages, self-knowledge in this voice. It is gorgeous, it is generous, it is inimitable, this offering.
— Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic, a National Book Award finalist
In Rosanna Warren’s profound new collection, So Forth, desire, emptiness, and the powerful contradictions of women’s lives stir up ‘a storm of wants.’ Warren relies on the hopeless ‘etceteras’ of our blood muscle, the heart, insisting on itself, on its ‘so forth,’ its circulate similes, sprung into terrifying poetry, into such rhetorical immortality
— Carol Muske-Dukes, author of Blue Rose
This is Rosanna Warren’s testament to making life while resisting the insensitivities and brutalities of the day. It sees purpose in art, but especially in nature, and searches for a way to reconcile the two, where too often it seems obvious and easy to do so. It’s not. And the fluidity of the poetry is often counter to the complexity of considering if such a reconciling is possible or desirable. Unique.
— John Kinsella, author of Firebreaks
This is a book of love and war, rich with poems of desire and rage, situated in our nearly unbearable historical moment, alive to its challenges and pleasures. Rosanna Warren uses passion and calculation in equal measure to grapple with an uncertain future—in this, she is the best of citizens, loving her world in the midst of fierce disenchantment. The poems combine lavish but pellucid description, and a disarming directness that senses the heart of the matter with unmatched agility.
— Katie Peterson, author of A Piece of Good News