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Sharp Stars

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Sharp Stars

By: Sharon Bryan

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Regular price $ 16.00

About This Title

Winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award for 2009


As she's shown throughout her career, Sharon Bryan is a rare breed of contemporary poet.  A practitioner of acrobatic language that probes matters philosophical and psychological, Bryan is also playful and humorous, and this mixture of attributes reveals itself in each of these tightly-knit, succulent poems. Concerned with the interplay of matter and spirit, Bryan's poems in this collection also address, and sometimes blend, issues of biology, astronomy, and music. As she writes in the poem Big Band Theory: “It all began with music,/ with that much desire to be/ in motion, waves of longing/ with Nothing to pass through,/ the pulsing you feel before/ you hear it. The darkness couldn't/ keep still, it began to sway....” The poems in Sharp Stars represent more than ten years of work. Of her last book, Flying Blind, published in 1996, Small Press wrote: “In Sharon Bryan's most effective poems, word play is a matter of life and death... Bryan won't let any ordinary phrase off the hook as she dangles it, circling in brilliant focus.” Indeed, in Sharp Stars we find her unraveling common phrases or sayings in the all-too-human desire for transcendence, a transcendence Sharon Bryan accomplishes with her own blend of levity and gravitas, always mindful of the complicated, vexing dynamic of body and soul. 

"Sharp wit, infinite energy, delightful word plays, and luminous insights shine in Sharp Stars..." --Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century

"Sharon Bryan is a poet who contemplates radical questions and situations.  Her beautiful astonishment vis-a-vis the universe knows no limits.  Her poems dance this amazement." --Adam Zagajewski

Big Band Theory

It all began with music,
with that much desire to be

in motion, waves of longing
with Nothing to pass through,

the pulsing you feel before
you hear it.  The darkness couldn’t

keep still, it began to sway,
then there were little flashes

of light, glints of brass
over the rumbling percussion,

the reeds began to weep and sing,
and suddenly the horns

tore bigger holes in the darkness—
we could finally see

where the music was coming from:
ordinary men in bowties and black

jackets.  But by then we had already
danced most of the night away.

© BOA Editions, Ltd 2009

Available Editions:
ISBN: 978-1-934414-28-6
Publishing Date: 2009