Working within the frame of her native New England, Julie Agoos positions herself in her new book, Property, less as a first-person lyric speaker than as an acute listener to the layered history of small and large violences which ignite repeatedly in American life. Structured as a progression of poems which invoke the "genres" of oral history, gossip, legal transcript, and diary writing, Property arrives, in the long poem "Deposition," at the story of a particular, explosive, and horrific local crime.
Property's subject is historical and political: as she experiments from her unique lyric perspective with multiple ways of "telling"and explores through dramatic superimposition how the past inscribes and disturbs the present, Agoos interrogates our homegrown social and racial divides, and focuses emphatically on the ethics of living in a real and present world of ubiquitous war. Her images of natural beauty join a plain style derived from the rhythms of vernacular speech to challenge the complacenciesand consequences of her own American identity and belonging.
Born in Boston in 1956, Julie Agoos is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Above the Land (Yale University Press, 1987) and Calendar Year (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1996). She taught for eight years as a lecturer in the creative writing program at Princeton University, and, since 1994, in the English department and MFA program in poetry at Brooklyn College/CUNY, where she is an associate professor. She lives in Nyack, New York.
Ausable Press, 9781931337373, 128pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2008