Ozone Journal

Paperback | March 26, 2015

byPeter Balakian

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from "Ozone Journal"
 
Bach’s cantata in B-flat minor in the cassette,
we lounged under the greenhouse-sky, the UVBs hacking
at the acids and oxides and then I could hear the difference
 
between an oboe and a bassoon
at the river’s edge under cover—
trees breathed in our respiration;
 
there was something on the other side of the river,
something both of us were itching toward—
 
radical bonds were broken, history became science.
We were never the same.
 
The title poem of Peter Balakian's Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker's memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009. These memories spark others—the dissolution of his marriage, his life as a young single parent in Manhattan in the nineties, visits and conversations with a cousin dying of AIDS—creating a montage that has the feel of history as lived experience. Bookending this sequence are shorter lyrics that span times and locations, from Nairobi to the Native American villages of New Mexico. In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.

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From the Publisher

from "Ozone Journal"   Bach’s cantata in B-flat minor in the cassette, we lounged under the greenhouse-sky, the UVBs hacking at the acids and oxides and then I could hear the difference   between an oboe and a bassoon at the river’s edge under cover— trees breathed in our respiration;   there was something on the other side of the rive...

Peter Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in Humanities and professor of English at Colgate University. He is the author of seven books of poems, most recently of Ziggurat and June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974–2000. He is also the author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:72 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:March 26, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022620703X

ISBN - 13:9780226207032

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

ONE
Name and Place
Pueblo 1, New Mexico
Pueblo 2, New Mexico
Pueblo, Christmas Dance
Joe Louis’s Fist
Hart Crane in LA, 1927
Providence/Teheran, ’79
Warhol/Mao, ’72
Baseball Days, ’61

TWO
Ozone Journal

THREE
Here and Now
Slum Drummers, Nairobi
Leaving Aleppo
Near the Border
Finches
Silk Road
Home

Notes

Editorial Reviews

"In his new book, Ozone Journal, Balakian masterfully does the things nobody else does—derange history into poetry, make poetry painting, make painting culture, make culture living—and with a historical depth that finds the right experience in language."