An extraordinary first collection. With precision and exquisite craftsmanship, the poems chart the movement of a mind toward the point where thinking leaves the ready groove and strikes out into the unmapped.
As the author says: “The poems are all experiments with form: all the dresses tried on. I was trying to feel through words in contrast to having a feeling and trying to describe it… just like myself, these poems are wanting without knowing what they want. They were my trying to figure out what to believe and where to begin. I was trying to stand, to understand all the movements inside my own body. I think the poems were my first questionings of what it means to be in relation.”
Pam Rehm was born in Pennsylvania in 1967. She now lives in New York City, with her husband, the poet Lew Daly, and their two children. This was her first book. Her second, To Give It Up, was a National Poetry Series winner, selected by Barbara Guest. Her most recent publication is Gone to Earth (Flood Editions, 2001).
“…the singular brilliance of this poet. She makes each edge of sound, of a word’s various meaning, articulate with impeccable art. Her insistent intelligence is a great light in the all too surrounding darkness.”
“How fine, how original, humbling in the purity of its tone is TO GIVE IT UP. And the creative intensity in which her poems struggle until a calm descends in which the spirit thrives.”
–Barbara Guest (National Poetry Series award 1994)
“poetry devoted to discovery”
–Shelby Stephenson, Time Pilot
“A young woman came to discuss her poems. She said very little. It was as if she were clothed in an intense hesitancy, a serious shymess. Now … come these poems which are wonderfully various in their address and in what they address. hesitation has been used ‘to have something to give back,’ shyness has been used as ‘a nerve into all circumstances.’ What Pam Rehm has given in these poems is worthy of our intense and serious attention.”