The Lives of the Saints

Paperback | October 1, 2002

bySuzanne Paola

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The image of the rose winds through the book, symbol of eternity and transience, gravity and folly. We find it in the ghastly bloom of the atomic bomb, in the relic of St. Therese of Lisieux, in the wool of a cloned sheep. Its image glows silently under the Waste Isolation Projects of Yucca Mountain and New Mexico, in the U.S. Human Radiation Experiments, in the altars constructed at the schoolyard gate of the Columbine massacre.

The poems -- witty, sly, sensitive, and immensely informed -- trace the spiritual inquiries of a series of linked personae adrift in bodies and a world made toxic by the residues of scientific experimentation. Paola’s dramatic monologues begin and end with the same fictional narrator, a wry, cynical, cake-baking woman who, on learning of the atomic structure of all matter, begins a lifetime of questioning.

At times blasphemous, at times poignant and humorous, these voices are never less than heartbreakingly human, and the words they utter chill with their honesty. The Lives of the Saints is a stark, wise, meticulously researched book by a writer whose reputation leaps forward with each publication.

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The image of the rose winds through the book, symbol of eternity and transience, gravity and folly. We find it in the ghastly bloom of the atomic bomb, in the relic of St. Therese of Lisieux, in the wool of a cloned sheep. Its image glows silently under the Waste Isolation Projects of Yucca Mountain and New Mexico, in the U.S. Human Ra...

Suzanne Paola is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow-ship for 2002-2003. She is the author of three award-winning books of poetry, including, most recently, Bardo. Her prose memoir, Body Toxic, is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2001. She lives with her husband and their young son in Bel...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:80 pages, 9.25 × 6.09 × 0.22 inPublished:October 1, 2002Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029598273X

ISBN - 13:9780295982731

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Table of Contents

PrologueThe Lives of the SaintsThe First Letter of St. Paul to the ClonesBlessed Ludovica AlbertoniThe Second Letter of St. Paul on the Human Genome ProjectPatient 6The First Letter of St. Paul to the ColumbinesCaterinatiThe Third Letter of St. Paul at the PlaygroundThe Lives of the Saints II; RosetteThe First Letter of St. Paul in the HomogoceneNotesAcknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

Suzanne Paola's collection reveals an amazing mind. Her words flow in their own directions, bringing insight, taking us on arcane journeys to familiar places suddenly redolent with new understanding. This is devotional poetry of a new sort.

- Salem Statesman-Journal