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Proverbs of Limbo: Poems

Proverbs of Limbo: Poems

Author Robert Pinsky
Publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication Date 2024-06-11
Section Poetry
Type New
Format Hardcover
ISBN 9780374611958

A new book of poems by the three-time poet laureate Robert Pinsky, a writer "rarely equalled" (Louise Glück).

Robert Pinsky, one of our most ambitious, inventive, and finely tuned poets, takes an original approach to the fraught, central matter of borders in Proverbs of Limbo, his first new book of poetry in eight years.

In this collection, the poet mines and maps limbal regions: those spaces between differences that can be at once creative and oppressive, enlightening and dark, exciting and fatal. For Pinsky, they include the familiar borders between demographic categories, as well as limbal realities that are more personal—clashing ways of understanding, personal history and world history, health and illness, freedom and compulsion, intimacy and community, personality and culture—all the countless variations of in-between.

The title Proverbs of Limbo tips its hat, at an angle, to the great poet William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. Blake’s jagged, contrary proverbs resist, from within, the binary rights and wrongs of conventional Christianity: “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”; “The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”

Here, Pinsky embodies a different resistance to different conventions of understanding. “The Buddha,” begins the title poem, “is a liquor store / On a busy corner.”

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