Noose and Hook
By Lynn Emanuel
(University of Pittsburgh Press, Paperback, 9780822960591, 62pp.)
Publication Date: March 2010
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Lynn Emanuel is the author of three previous poetry collections: Hotel Fiesta; The Dig; and Then, Suddenly—. Her work has been included in the Pushcart Prize anthology, Best American Poetry, and The Oxford Book of American Poetry. Emanuel is the recipient of numerous awards including the Eric Matthieu King Award from The Academy of American Poets, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a National Poetry Series Award. She is professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh.
The tremendous power of Emanuel’s experiment has to do with her immersion in such dialectical twists as presented by the slipperiness of her artisitic medium itself: speech. The whole structure of the book enacts a drama of escape and entrapment as the the lyric “I” disappears and resurfaces. . . . Emanuel offers not only a powerfully and passionately written collection but also a vital contribution to the development of contemporary poetry.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
“With its exotic quirkiness, ceaseless self-interrogation, and ‘insatiable identities’ that shape-shift from one page to the next, Noose and Hook digs a trench and empties its clip at our hallowed notions of voice and linearity, and serves as a testament to the depth of Emanuel’s vibrant, indeed subversive, imagination. . . .It is difficult to think of another contemporary American poet, apart from Mary Ruefle, with such an unwavering commitment to her own singular vision and inventiveness.”
“Looping with zany energy and troubling all the way through. This is difficult work, more buffeting that consoling, but remember as you read that Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert said the purpose of art is to say, ‘Wake up!’”
“Mayhem and murder in luscious language.”
—Dallas Morning News
“In ‘Noose and Hook,’ we find a speaker delightfully at odds with how to write from ‘personal experience’ in an age of perpetual war and distraction. . . . The task of this poet is to break most of poetry’s rules, yet still she assembles some of the most haunting images I’ve come across in a long time without veering into what we might call ‘experimental’ territory. . . . For if we never embrace life’s more disturbing sides, this poet is here to lead us into her underworld, to show us those shades, to remind us, if we don’t look at our darkness head-on, we risk being consumed, ‘replaced by it.’ A frightening, essential book.”
"Emanuel's elegant, wry verse tackles a multitude of subjects—place, wars, painting, teaching, and dogs. Her language is precise, innovative, and witty, yet still has heart and a playful quality to it."
“I have long believed that Lynn Emanuel is one of the most innovative and subversive poets now writing in America. Her aesthetic and artistic choices consistently invoke a complex hybrid poetics that radically reimagines the shape of our poetic discourse. The brilliant, shattering, and disturbing poems of Noose and Hook are not only wry critiques of recent poetic and cultural activity in this country but also compelling signposts to what yet might be possible in our future. This is Lynn Emanuel’s most exquisite and powerful book yet.”
—David St. John