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Carnival Evening


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A (US) National Book Award finalist

About the Author

Linda Pastan has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, and in 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.


Thirty years worth of poems that celebrate the "mystery of the ordinary," this collection conveys, more than anything, the poignancy of time passing. Pastan, who was born in 1932, the same year as Sylvia Plath, presented readers with a different kind of female voice when her first book appeared in 1971‘neither omnipotent nor disembodied but that of a real woman in a physical world: "She's crowning, someone says,/ but there is no one royal here,/ just me, quite barefoot,/ greeting my barefoot child." The early poems use a short line and eschew rhyme, while some of the later poems look to formal verse to confront the pressing concerns of mortality. When Pastan falters, she ends a poem too cleanly, unable to turn a prime moment for the writer into significance for the reader. But when she is on‘as in the luminous title poem of this collection‘she is a poet of small gestures and great vision. Author of nine previous books of poetry (e.g., An Early Afterlife, LJ 12/94) and former poet laureate of Maryland, Pastan has enjoyed a steady popular appeal. This volume may bring her work the critical attention it deserves.‘Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York

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