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book cover: History and Geography



By Judith Barrington
Published by The Eighth Mountain Press

ISBN 0-933377-02-9, trade paperback, $7.95
ISBN 0-933377-03-7, cloth, $15.95



PRAISE for History and Geography

“Judith Barrington's new book of poems is informed by a strong sense of time and place: the specificities that reify human interchanges for tellers and hearers of tales. There are powerful stories here: the death of a child's parents by shipwreck; a twenty-year-old's unnameable affair with a woman of forty; even a lover's allergic reaction to a bee sting fuels a vignette of confrontation with mortality. In many poems, a formal framework inspires a reader's assurance and fascination with this writer's craft and direction: she knows where she is taking us—Gibraltar, Scotland, Oregon, sites of some of her well-lived lives—and we want to go with her as, on the way, poet, lesbian, grown woman in a world at risk, she gives the unnameable a plethora of names.” —Marilyn Hacker

“The poems in History and Geography are adroit and exact. Judith Barrington moves without missing a step from the wry to the impassioned. She can speak of love, and is unafraid of clarity; indeed if I had one word to use to describe the book, it would be courage.” —Ursula K. Le Guin

History and Geography is traversed by a keen avenue of sound sense, a confidence of detail, and a rich, often difficult landscape of experience which Judith Barrington calmly, courageously explores. I am moved and fortified by the sense of healing litany in this work, particularly in the poems to her parents. The prose memoir, 'Fish' swims luminously alongside, helping define the vast borders of a compassionate, generous life.” —Naomi Shihab Nye

"Barrington's history, like Lowell's, is intensely personal; her geography, like Bishop's, extracts the familiar from the exotic and the exotic from the familiar." -The Nation

“Judith Barrington writes masterfully of identity, destiny and roots.... The thirty-five poems and one prose memoir push against safe emotional boundaries like waves crashing against the shore. Yet Barrington does not flail away with her pen. Her images are rendered with precision and are glorious....” —San Francisco Chronicle

"A collection which tantalizes and satisfies simultaneously." —13th Moon

"I like to learn something new when I read a book of poetry. I also like to dwell in the familiar. History and Geography does both things for me. Barrington's sharp, bifocal vision gives me nearby and distant physical and emotional domains and holds them to a light I've not seen them in before." —The Kenyon Review

"She engages wittily with cultural differences, and gives a prominent place to what Elizabeth Bishop, of whom her writing sometimes reminds me, called 'questions of travel.' There is an economy of language here, a healthy and resonating clarity." —The Women's Review of Books

"Written in a voice at once steadfastly bold and gently intimate…Barrington shrewdly and unsentimentally explores the history and geography of her life, illuminating with abundant detail raw emotions and painful truth…. In both metered and free verse, she demonstrates control of her material, transforming volatile feelings and almost-unspeakable observations into cogent, vigorous poetry. Barrington deftly and gracefully maintains urgency throughout, and the parts seamlessly add up to a whole." —Publishers Weekly

"Her language is glorious-riveting in the precision of the image to evoke the constellation of sensation and emotion." —Belles Lettres

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LISTEN to the author read from History and Geography:

"History and Geography "
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, or can be ordered directly from The Eighth Mountain Press, 624 SE 29th Avenue, Ptld, OR 97214; 503 233 3936 phone. No charge for shipping bookrate within the U.S.


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