Wideawake Field (Hardcover)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374299309, 88pp.
Publication Date: May 15, 2007
The chairs have come in and the crisp yellow thwock of the ball being hit says somehow, now that it's fall, I'm a memory of myself. My whole old life--I mourn you sometimes in places you would have been. --October The poems in this fierce debut are an attempt to record what matters. As a reporter's dispatches, they concern themselves with different forms of desolation: what it means to feel at home in wrecked places and then to experience loneliness and dislocation in the familiar. The collection arcs between internal and external worlds--the disappointment of returning, the guilt and thrill of departure, unexpected encounters in blighted places-- and, with ruthless observations etched in the sparest lines, the poems in Wideawake Field sharply and movingly navigate the poles of home and away.
Praise For Wideawake Field: Poems…
"Eliza Griswold's brief poems excel in that most difficult work of the writer--not to speak to excess and yet not to say a small thing. Her poems, which treat of both personal intimacy and of the anguish so present now in our trouble-laden world are, at the same time, concise, resonant, empathetic, angry, and luminous."
--Mary Oliver "Some of the strengths of Eliza Griswold's first book are immediately apparent. They include an assured authority of tone, language of repeatedly astonishing transparency, images that emerge out of each poem's invisible source, vivid and revelatory even when they appear to overlap like double exposures. Her subjects are raw, wrenching, and she makes them ours. This is writing of true originality, that seems to have started out knowing where it was going." --W.S. Merwin "Eliza Griswold's WIDEAWAKE FIELD is a book of compelling authority by a young poet who already understands, and stands ready to renew, poetry's most ancient tasks--to bring the news, to sing the human in the midst of its destruction, to register truths, to open our eyes. The broken world is one world in her poems. She draws tenderness from brutality, an idyll from a panic, and lyric not from interlude, but everywhere." --Susan Stewart
"Evidently this new poet has loved and lost (though of such loving, it is the losing which is disclosed), a good show for lyric verse, as the old poets have demonstrated; but equally evident is Ms Griswold's engagement in the world's woes, even her possession of them. Such double-dealing results in a distillation of political ressentiment which is a novelty in the annals of our poetry of passion. Who conceives Dickinson conferring an instant of her attention on what occurred at Gettysburg; indeed who expects the accents of Christina Rossetti to sort with the collective griefs of, say, Darfur? Yet hear Griswold:
I'm embarrassed to remember
the time before I grew
uncertain about you,
and that I had a right to say
where I had been
and what I saw there.
We must salute the achievement of this poetry not for novelty alone, but for its immediacy of feeling, its recognition of defeat, its stoic joy." --Richard Howard