Honey with Tobacco

Paperback | April 15, 2007

byPeg Boyers

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Pietà
 

This time the migraine came with a vision
bathed in night sweat:

I was sitting on the Eames chair,
your man’s body on my lap, legs

and arms white as casein draped over
mine, spilling onto the cassock, new sores

on your legs, dried blood
on your feet and hands,

from your chalk mouth
the words forgive me,

from mine, the impossible
no
 

Hard Bread,Peg Boyers’s debut poetry collection, with verse spoken in the imagined voice of the Italian writer Natalia Ginzburg, was widely praised for its inspired ventriloquism and its brilliant lyricism. In Honey with Tobacco, Boyers’s own intensely personal voice emerges in three strikingly distinctive variants. The first part of the book is the most explicitly autobiographical, bringing together poems that explore the poet’s Cuban American experience and a childhood marked by travel, the tropics, and varieties of disenchantment. The middle sequence of poems concerns a mother, a father, and a son, a postmodern holy family whose ordeals are evoked in a terse, terrifying narrative. In familiar tableaux drawn from the Bible that have inspired great works of art—the Annunciation, the Pieta, and Judgment Day—Boyers explores what it means in contemporary America to be “blessed among women” and whether and how art can contain grief. The final section of the book confronts age, desire, and regret in a series of personal poems that plumb baser human instincts and the speakers’ determination to dwell in darkness, when necessary, without abandoning the sacred.

Praise for Hard Bread:

“A great achievement of poetic voice . . . . It’s absolutely clear what these poems are ‘about,’ and they are unapologetic in their devotion to subject, clarity, precision, and accessibility.”—Steven Cramer, Poetry

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From the Publisher

Pietà This time the migraine came with a visionbathed in night sweat:I was sitting on the Eames chair,your man’s body on my lap, legsand arms white as casein draped overmine, spilling onto the cassock, new soreson your legs, dried bloodon your feet and hands,from your chalk mouththe words forgive me,from mine, the impossibleno Hard Bre...

Peg Boyers is executive editor of Salmagundi and author of Hard Bread, also published by the University of Chicago Press. She teaches creative writing at Skidmore College.

other books by Peg Boyers

To Forget Venice
To Forget Venice

Paperback|Oct 29 2014

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:64 pages, 8.5 × 6.13 × 0.3 inPublished:April 15, 2007Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226069672

ISBN - 13:9780226069678

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
I. Honey with Tobacco
La Tuvería or An Earring’s Lament
Machine of Regret
Agua de Violetas
Tobacco
Playa Colorada
Family Portrait
Mantilla
Transition: Inheriting Maps
Abanico Habanero
 
II. Deposition
            1. Before Losing You at the Market, Finding You at the Temple
            2. The Effects of Intemperance
            3. Sacra Conversazione
            4. Annunciation
            5. Palm Sunday
            6. Agony in the Garden
            7. Deposition
            8. The Bad Thief is a Mother
            9. Pietà
            10. Cup
            11. Judgment Day
            12. Lamentation
            13. Genuine Repose During the Flight from Egypt
            14. Catch
 
III.
Time Orders Old Age to Destroy Beauty
Bitch Diary
Pentecost: Waiting
Forty Days

Editorial Reviews

"The final stanza exquisitely elaborates one approach to poetry, as an activity both impassioned and arduous, drawing on both the intellect and emotional experience. This ethos, consistent with the collection as a whole, provides a fitting conclusion to this well-wrought, highly original book."