Save Our Ship    (November 2019)


By Barbara Ungar

ISBN: 978-0912592749

Keywords:
snyder prize  poetry 

Winner of the 2018 Snyder Prize.

Save Our Ship is named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2019. It is also an SPD recommended title and bestseller.

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Praise for Save Our Ship:

If poetry sends signals out into the universe, and aliens
could intercept and interpret these poems as code, they
might answer,


      Read poetry
      Save yourselves
      Buy this book

-- Bernadette Mayer

As you live with these witty, satiric, and at times wrenching poems, you will find that their humor darkens while their sadness grows strangely lighter. Ungar s examination of contemporary mores, mordant while avoiding self-pity, displays a range of moods that recalls the poetry of the late William Matthews, for whom the poet contributes an elegy, Dear Bill, which may be the best I have read of that mordant, witty, and keenly insightful poet. What have we here? In part we have an apology for a generation, the Baby Boomers, who have populated their emotional lives with their intellectual acumen and savage wit and failed romances and sense of the absurd and the awful recognition that it might be too late to do anything for the planet. The book begins with the revelation of an anti-feminist Medieval alphabet and employs a running joke on the alphabet itself subversively underlined by the Morse Code. Yet emotional ambush lurks around every corner, from spousal abuse (How It Happens), to the contradictions of modern philosophy (Brush Up Your Heidegger), to the Holocaust (I Go On the Road of All the Earth), to the urban spirituality to be found in a Zumba session (After Zumba). One of the astringent reminders of Save Our Ship, including its title poem, is the disaster of climate change. There is an unsettling retrospective vision of what we have come to, a realization that Cassandra still walks among us telling her truth, being heard and yet being ignored. You will not be able to ignore Ungar s wonderful poems. They are memorable. They make us think again about our lives and the brave, complicated humor that may somehow redeem us.

-- Mark Jarman, 2018 Richard Snyder Judge

A collection of 57 poems that sound alarms about current ecological, political, and cultural trends. [. . .] A distress call that’s worth reading and heeding.

-- Kirkus Review


 About the Author:

Barbara Ungar’s last book, Immortal Medusa, was one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Poetry Books of 2015; a starred review begins, “Ungar’s new collection may not make her immortal, but it surely establishes her as a contemporary poet of the first rank.” Earlier books include Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life; Thrift; and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Prize, an Independent Publishers’ silver medal, and a Hoffer award, and was co-winner of the Adirondack Center for Writing Poetry Award. A professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, she lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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