With a penetrating eye and a deep and spiritual intelligence, Betty Adcock writes poems that range from elegy to dark humor as they confront both loss and possibility. Intervale, selections from her first four books plus a new collection, traces the continuity of her vision and shows that lyric intensity can bring light to even the most obdurate darkness.
Moving from the original loss of a world at her mother’s death during the poet's sixth year to the world’s loss of the arboreal leopards of Cambodia and Vietnam; from vanishing farmland to the endangered Sacred Harp music that once flourished in backwoods churches; from the difficult history of a little-known rural place to the weighted ruins of Greece—these poems frame lessenings, divestations, and devastations in the midst of plenty. A wilderness disappears into cozy myth, farming into industry, tiger and elephant into zoos; the very ground underfoot, with its attendant necessities and contingencies, can seem to fade into fabrications we take for reality. The seam where such themes touch Adcock’s personal history is the path these poems travel toward a harsh but luminous transcendence.
Betty Adcock is the author of six previous books of poetry and the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, the Poets’ Prize, the North Carolina Medal for Literature, the Texas Institute of Letters Prize for Poetry, the Hanes Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She taught for twenty years at Meredith College and for ten years at the Warren Wilson MFA program for Writers.
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