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Cover for Whirlwind (Pitt Poetry Series)

Whirlwind (Pitt Poetry Series)

Sharon Dolin


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Whirlwind is one woman’s frank, witty, mordant, sexy look at the breakup of a marriage and its emotional aftermath. With her characteristic linguistic play and mixture of poetic registers and styles, Sharon Dolin takes her readers on an off-the-tracks emotional ride through the whirlwind that goes by the name of divorce. Hang on tight. Here poems are never merely confessional, but use formal aplomb to ride the white-heat rage, hurt, denial, reflection, regret, wistfulness, desire, and sexual passion as they go hurtling through the many stages of grief after the death of a relationship and the rebirth of a more vital self. Dolin tackles difficult subjects unflinchingly in her poems: such as betrayal and the shame of the one being betrayed, being a parent within a volatile breakup, as well as some startling poems on the reawakening of sexuality and an attention to the natural world and politics. In her poem that won a Pushcart Prize, she dons the mask of the Furies to confront her ex-husband and his lover. A journalist of her own heart, Sharon Dolin has written a brazen collection that seethes with the pressure of a story to tell: cathartic and thrilling in equal measure.

Praise For Whirlwind (Pitt Poetry Series)

“In Whirlwind Sharon Dolin’s trademark quick wit and candor are infused with an uncanny mix of flirt and fury. Anchored by women who ride and are ridden by the blues, these expert poems shift between ode, testimonial, and elegy. Here is the ‘oh boy woe’ that prompts serious play; here is the intensity a woman displays when ‘her head is lifted above some suffering.’
Whirlwind is a book of wonderful whimsy, grace, and bite.”
—Terrance Hayes

“Whatever else she does with the American language, Dolin has fun: the New York City–based poet’s fourth volume combines great verbal ingenuity with a vast set of subjects. . . . Attentive readers will find credible emotions, real problems of divided love and of middle-aged worry, amid the sometimes baroque surfaces of Dolin’s poems. But the surfaces matter: they are the gift she brings.”
Publishers Weekly on Burn and Dodge

“She writes at the edge of compression, with such pop to her lines that I’m reminded of Auden’s definition of poetry—‘memorable speech.’”
—Bob Hicok on Burn and Dodge

“The strength of this book is that the [narrative] tapestry changes to a living, hurtful theater: the poems keep breaking their own elegant surface to reveal the shadows of loss and memory and fear. These fine poems pull the reader in—enchanting, disturbing, and consoling, all at the same time.”
—Eavan Boland on Realm of the Possible

University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822962212, 88pp.

Publication Date: October 21, 2012

About the Author

Sharon Dolin is the author of several previous poetry collections: Burn and Dodge, winner of the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry; Realm of the Possible; Serious Pink; and Heart Work, as well as five poetry chapbooks. She is Writer-in-Residence at Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts in New York City. Dolin also teaches at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y and directs the Center for Book Arts Annual Letterpress Poetry Chapbook Competition.