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LSU Press

Carolina Ghost Woods: Poems

Carolina Ghost Woods: Poems

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The daughter of sharecroppers and raised on a small farm near the Carolinas' border, Judy Jordan in her first poetry collection transforms the harshness of her youth with the beauty, inventiveness, and musicality of language. Physical and emotional privation, familial violence, racial enmity, and recurrent death haunt Carolina Ghost Woods, which is set amid the lush landscape of the South and enfolds the wildness--inclement and consoling by turns--of nature and agriculture. Jordan, though, reveals compassion as well as passion for her subject matter and the people in her poems, creating lines of hope and chords of ecstatic energy out of despair: "Yet another attempt to find what the guidebooks can't say / in this place smelling green-walnut bitter / and drifting up at each kicked leaf: / something that promises we will go on."

Expansive, ambitious, risk-taking, these narrative-lyrics--often elegiac--engage the timeless subjects of absence and distance, using metaphor in a way that surprises the reader to a different level of awareness, "like the years / that have paused to rub their furred mouths against my leg and pass on." An extraordinary rendering of the mystery, heat, and closeness of the undisclosed, Carolina Ghost Woods offers a poetry of witness that does not sacrifice the aesthetics of language and rhythm: "Here I bring my sorrows / like the delft-blue mussel shells, / fingertip tiny, most beautiful when strewn wide with loss."

Author: Judy Jordan
Publisher: LSU Press
Published: 03/01/2000
Pages: 59
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.69lbs
Size: 9.39h x 6.37w x 0.48d
ISBN: 9780807125557
Award: Walt Whitman Award - Winner
Award: Utah Book Award - Winner

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal 02/15/2000 pg. 168
Foreword 03/01/2000 pg. 42
Library Journal 04/15/2001 pg. 102

About the Author
Judy Jordan'spoems have appeared in Poetry, Third Coast, Blue Pitcher Review, Crossroads, and other journals and will be included in the upcoming anthology American Poetry: Next Generation. She has been the recipient of a Henry Hoyns Fellowship, a Steffensen Cannon Scholarship, a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship, and the first-place prize in the Western Humanities Review's Utah Writers Competition. She received a master of fine arts degree in poetry from the University of Virginia and a second master's in fiction from the University of Utah. She lives in Salt Lake City.

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