Genome Rhapsodies, The   (November 2015)

By Anna George Meek

ISBN: 978-0-912592-80-0

anna george meek  the genome rhapsodies 

Winner of the 2014 Richard Snyder Poetry Prize, selected by Angie Estes

* Finalist for Eric Hoffer Book Award

Available from:  Ashland Bookstore  |  Amazon

Praise for The Genome Rhapsodies by Anna George Meek:

"The Genome Rhapsodies opens with Gregor Mendel’s question: 'What is inherited, and how?' Like strands of DNA, the syntax in these brilliant and moving poems intertwines with the infinitely recombinant moments and utterances that comprise our lives, revealing that what we inherit, first and finally, is language itself. … 'Try to Remember Before Language,' one poem urges us, but of course we can’t. These poems re-member us in language and reveal how the past becomes us, in every sense of the word; they are gorgeous, unforgettable works of art.”

— Angie Estes, 2014 Snyder Prize Judge

"There are moments in our lives when a veil seems lifted and the interconnectedness of the world is revealed. The Genome Rhapsodies seems born from these epiphanic flashes. Lacing her own poetic voice together with a disparate array of voices and texts through bricolage, Meek’s poems explore the many forms of inheritance. As her poem built from her father’s lines, 'The Voice That is Mine and Not Mine,' points out: we become the words poured into us. Where we begin and end is not easily definable, after all, 'The boundaries of an organism are nearly always disputable.'"

—- Matt Rasmussen, author of Black Aperture, National Book Award finalist

"What makes Anna George Meek’s The Genome Rhapsodies so impressive is its honesty about and alertness to everyday experience: 'Dear sachet, dear cherished household hooks / and torch and toys, I am coming back a stranger / to the materials of being alive.'  Her musician’s ear is particularly keyed to the bare-boned contradictions of life, such as nature vs. nurture, and joy vs. grief.  American poetry could use a good dose of her tenacity, wit, and spirit.  Meek is that rare poet who wears her heart on both sleeves."

— David Roderick, author of The Americans and winner of the APR/Honickman Prize.

"In Genome Rhapsodies  we consider the basic components of the human body, the notes that make familiar music, and single memories composing the whole of memory itself.  As the collection builds toward rhapsody, it is at first many other fine things: “The script/for an ancient story,” the verbal virtuosity and “dumb throbbing” of “derivations of grief” in violent times.  Most often, Genome Rhapsodies is a linguistic bricolage in which meticulous focus on the micro juxtaposes with the macro to move us toward the hugeness of union. Anna Meek’s tone is intimate, erotic, and intellectual at once. Each body flows, she shows us, into the next body like “a plate of honey” both “sweet, and ominous.” We touch one another, whether we want to touch or not."

— Heid E. Erdrich, author of Cell Traffic, New and Selected Poems

About the Author

Anna George Meek has published in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Yale Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Seneca Review, The Missouri Review (where she was awarded the Tom McAfee Discovery Prize), Water~Stone, Crazyhorse, and dozens of other national journals. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant, two Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships, and an Academy of American Poetry Prize. Her first book, Acts of Contortion, won the Brittingham Prize in Poetry; her chapbook Engraved won the Snowbound Chapbook Competition and was published in 2013. Meek lives with her husband and daughter where she sings professionally with the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, and is a professor of English in the Twin Cities.

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