Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Louise in Love

by Mary Jo Bang

“Louise is a brilliant poetic creation. The poems that chart her “career” in all its vicissitudes are delicious language games. It is the exactitude of these witty fantasy poems, their ability to evoke the most precise gradations of mood and atmosphere that makes Louise in Love such a memorable, exciting book of poems. It should establish Bang as one of the finest poets of her generation.” –Marjorie Perloff

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 96
  • Publication Date January 18, 2001
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-3760-9
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date December 01, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9656-9
  • US List Price $13.00

About The Book

In the stunning follow-up collection to her prize-winning debut, Mary Jo Bang jettisons the reader into the dreamlike world of Louise, a woman in love. Full of splendor and wit, the dalliance of language in Bang’s dramatic postmodern verse-novel is as exhilarating as love itself. Louise and her enigmatic explorers are traveling on a voyage without destination, all the while observing and questioning the often whimsical world around them. Musical and mysterious, in Louise in Love anything goes, provided it is breathtaking.

Praise

“Louise is a brilliant poetic creation. The poems that chart her “career” in all its vicissitudes are delicious language games. It is the exactitude of these witty fantasy poems, their ability to evoke the most precise gradations of mood and atmosphere that makes Louise in Love such a memorable, exciting book of poems. It should establish Bang as one of the finest poets of her generation.” –Marjorie Perloff

“At once, and for a while, the words sound strange: “electric connections / that traipsed the chasm between synaptic clefts.” But listen with patience, a little lenience for intimacies new to you, and a story reaches the surface. And then, says Louise’s lover, “we’ll all feel the fury of having been used / up in maelstrom and splendor.” In her new book, Mary Jo Bang is writing the English of our second millennium, worthy of its first: indeed, traipsing the chasm between!” –Richard Howard

Excerpt

ECLIPSED

The crimped beige of a book, turned-down corner.
The way an eclipse begins with the moon
denting the sun’s liquid disk, taking a first bit
then more and more and. Leaving a regal rim, a dim
spared portion, a shiver. How cold she was
as the cloud covered the cuckoo-land,
birds batting the tree fringe. Fitful caprice.
Foolish, yes, they were, those birds, but clever too.
A nostrum of patterning rain had fallen
beforehand ceding the hibiscus buds bundled
and in disarray. In the news p. Nostradamic foretelling
of retinal damage written in novelese.
Wasn’t the skeptic invented to nourish an interest in science?
Yes. The puma swallows the sun, only to spit it back out.
Diaphragmatic heaving. Base emetic act.
The puky little sun glowing to a glare. Puissance.
One’s own right hand teaching one to look, to see, to leap
upon some notional premise.
Louise placed the next-to-night glasses on the table.
It is, she said, so over. But it wasn’t.

Specters they would be
rooted eighty-two years in the same spot waiting
for another and then an offhand remark and one by one
(which is the way death takes us, he said)
they took their shadows
and went out of the garden and into the house.

SHE COULDn’t SING AT ALL, AT ALL

Louise said. No subtle cadences capturing birdnote
nor the melancholic ‘my Love
Is in a Light Attire.” She could speak well enough
but to sing was to vivisect the ear’s dear pleasure desired.
Ham suggested canasta
or a hike to a hillock. The other reminded
no night-over camping–Lydia was soundly allergic to that.
Charles Gordon proposed
a boat ride to a big, big lake and a stroll
in the Parc d”Avenir. They heard an April angelus tolling its sixes,
a sure sign that the winter demon was down.
It was now a matter of waiting
for the haughty naughty beguilement of warmth.
They were standing on the balcony when
Louise was tossed not a rose or two with flayed edges
but an entire bouquet of hibiscus (a horde of bishops
huddling at the heart of each). Below them, a boy sweeping–
sheep, sheep, sheep–looked up
and souffled Lydia a kiss. Oh, it would be a good day, wontn’t it?
Life flung riverward and on and on
the baby boat floating, spinning in the hope current,
someone singing ‘sometimes a bun, sometimes only a biscuit.”

THE DOG BARK

Louise peered into the corner of the cabinet
of fossilized delights: mandragon manikin, a dried mermaid,

assorted dog barks of crass appetites.
It was six and dark early. Don’t forget numbers, Ham said,

are only examples: one and two with their sterile marriage,
three with its tattooed face. That year the gifts were lustrous:

a bear with the head of a horse, small nipples, flowers
in its ears. Louise said, Who doesn’t love

the sound of scissor snips and free-for-all terms of endearment?
The dog, they named Lucky
To Be Alive
, and refused to let it be altered.