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category: Poetry
published: Oct 2003
ISBN:9780864923721

Karenin Sings the Blues

by Sharon McCartney

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0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $19.95
edition:Paperback
category: Poetry
published: Oct 2003
ISBN:9780864923721
Description

Karenin Sings the Blues is a meditation sparked by the actors in Tolstoy's 19th-century masterpiece, Anna Karenina. Entering this famous saga of derailed love, McCartney explores the repercussions and unintended consequences of Anna and Vronsky's passion. Here, Anna Karenina's cuckolded husband "sings the blues," but Count Vronsky, too, bemoans his disappointed expectations.

McCartney imagines the anxieties of Anna's children, the self-absorption of busybodies and in-laws, the ambivalence of servants and friends sucked into Anna's romantic vortex. Set at the height of the industrial age, the roar of the train and the pounding rhythm and flying soot of the steam locomotive epitomize the vigour of McCartney's poems. The same vigour and clear vision characterize the "California" poems, which deal with McCartney's youth in urban southern California. Domestic chaos amid cultural inanity creates turmoil and fear. How is it possible to love a distant mother, a father off somewhere with a third or fourth wife, a wounded and angry brother, a terminally ill sister consuming everything? How is it possible not to? How can an adolescent know the difference between self-preservation and self-destruction? These concerns continue into adulthood and motherhood in "Persuasion," the third section of Karenin Sings the Blues.

Accessible and always forthright, McCartney combines plain-speaking revelations about family and domestic life with literary criticism and witty cultural play.

About the Author

Sharon McCartney is the author of two previous poetry
collections, Under the Abdominal Wall (Anvil) and Karenin Sings the Blues (Goose Lane), and the chapbook Switchgrass Stills (littlefishcartpress). Her work has been published in numerous magazines and journals including PRISM international, Event, Grain, sub-TERRAIN, Prairie Fire, Iowa City and the Malahat Review. McCartney has an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and a law degree from the University of Victoria. She works as a legal editor in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is poetry editor for The Fiddlehead.

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Editorial Reviews

"There is a defiance about McCartney's writing, a fierce forthrightness in her blunt language."

— <i>The Fiddlehead</i>

"Vibrant, polished... stylish, elegant lines... exquisitely written... a familiar universe animated by the small yet pivotal choices that make up a destiny, a life... 'California' and 'Persuasion' contain some of the most powerful, controlled autobiographical poems I have read... edgy, furious... Although merely 'family' poems, they are brutal, acidic, perfectly pitched, unsparing in their particularity."

— <i>Event</i>

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