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Death and Transfiguration


64 pages / 5.50 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations


  Hardcover / 9780807122112 / October 1997
  Paperback / 9780807122129 / October 1997

“Kelly Cherry’s poetry is marked by a firm intellectual passion, a reverent desire to possess the genuine thought of our century— historical, philosophical, and scientific—and a species of powerful ironic wit that is allied to rare good humor.”—from the citation naming Kelly Cherry the recipient of the first James G. Hanes Poetry Prize of the Fellowship of Southern Writers

In this, her latest, deeply moving collection, Kelly Cherry confronts the basic questions of love and death, faith and suffering. From her search for “a new poetry,” Cherry wrests a passionate, authoritative, powerful vision that is itself transfiguring.Death and Transfiguration focuses on the wisdom one gains from pain rather than on the pain itself. Cherry, betraying no fear, grasps her anguish to see how much she can stand.

“Requiem,” the closing poem, gathers all of the deaths in the collection in a single embrace. This spectacular piece, emotionally akin to Anna Akhmatova's poem of the same title but as closely and brilliantly reasoned as philosophy, transforms everything that has gone before, creating a unified work of the individual poems.

Kelly Cherry is the author of over twenty-five books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, ten chapbooks, and translations of two classical plays. She is Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and her husband live in Virginia.

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