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Cover for Atlas



Katrina Vandenberg


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"A first book of remarkable talent and depth." --PATTIANN ROGERS

Like Atlas holding up the world, this collection elevates human history--acknowledging and transforming patterns of all kinds through careful attention.

In Atlas, Katrina Vandenberg captures the way events reverberate and repeat across time and place. In the seventeenth century in the Netherlands, as one poem notes, a virus fueled through the tulip trade, making the flowers' veined petals so beautiful the price of bulbs soared; in the twentieth century in the United States, blood tainted with the AIDS virus was inadvertently transfused into the veins of hemophiliacs, eclipsing "the purpose that briefly lit their brilliant veins." In another poem, Vandenberg links an image of her sister, pausing in her work as housekeeper, with the contours of a maid in a Vermeer painting and a woman just "made over" on that day's episode of Oprah.

Like any good atlas, this collection plots intersections: of love, death, history, art, and desire. Carrying lines and themes from one poem to the next, drawing on family artifacts, memory, and imagination, these are poems that build a conversation.

Milkweed Editions, 9781571314192, 128pp.

Publication Date: September 30, 2004