Limitless Tiny Boat by Ruth Danon
|Limitless Tiny Boat||Ruth Danon||BlazeVOX [books]|
By investigating the minutiae of life—the stuff that anchors us, a stone and its echo, paradoxes constructed by language—Ruth Danon investigates nothing short of Thanatos and Eros. The journey of the Limitless, Tiny Boat is fierce and fearless. Watch out! These poems expand and contract—breathe—as they are read. A substantial achievement.
Ruth Danon seems to gather all of life into her Limitless Tiny Boat—or to explore every corner, every inch of the limitless, tiny boat that is life. In these flawlessly sculpted, deeply considered and compelling poems, Danon probes the machinery of life—how it sputters, hums along, gets stuck, stops, then restarts, hums along again. She shows how we must reckon with the terrors and consolations of the physical world, make an existential tally, and move on. “Words are / the only boat I have,” she writes. And then, “Really the trick is to estimate / from here, the journey outward.” This book is a beautiful reckoning, an astute tallying, and a profound journey through the dark and bright corridors that make up a life.
I’ve been reading Ruth Danon’s poetry for many years, always with pleasure. She is one of the most honest and affecting poets on the current scene, a writer more than willing to take deep emotional risks, bringing the reader close the flame. She says she is "lucky knowing / that everything tends / to a particular moment” in her latest collection. I suspect that much of her work as a poet has tended toward the moments gathered in Limitless Tiny Boat. It’s important work, and Danon takes us far beyond the fringes of thought and feeling.
Like any passageway between the profane and the sacred, Ruth Danon's poems keep looking for home: "Words are the only boat I have," she writes in her second collection, Limitless Tiny Boat. Danon's voice is intimate, wary, disarming, alive with intelligence and "the extreme urgency of patience." Though she claims that "three lines suggests a narrative," she also admits that "Narrative eludes me...." The material facts of a body in pain, in danger, in love find expression in the book's central sequence, a meditation that swerves from a "small cooking pot" to peristalsis: "The rose opens and closes its little mouth." As in the book's title, contradictions abound: what is called "tiny" is also "limitless" in these profound itineraries that float between story and song, hope and hopelessness, mind and body.
— Catherine Barnett
Ruth Danon’s poems manage to fuse seemingly irreconcilable qualities: they are both erudite and colloquial; concerned with ideas yet frankly personal; they have the reach of abstraction while also being tactile and concrete. The result is a shimmering originality that makes Limitless Tiny Boat a marvel to read.
Ruth Danon is the author of the poetry collections Living with the Fireman (Ziesing Brothers, 1981), Triangulation from a Known Point (North Star Line, 1990), and a book of literary criticism, Work in the English Novel (Croom-Helm, 1985). Her poetry was selected by Robert Creeley for Best American Poetry, 2002, and her poetry and prose have appeared in Versal, Mead, BOMB, the Paris Review, Fence, the Boston Review, 3rd bed, Crayon, and many other publications in the U.S. and abroad. She has been a fellow at the Ragdale Foundation, the Corporation of Yaddo, the Ora Lerman Foundation, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She teaches in the creative and expository writing programs that she directs for the McGhee Division of the School of Professional Studies of New York University and is founding director of the Summer Intensive Creative Writing Workshops at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. She is a member of the Urban Range Poets Collective. Ruth Danon grew up in upstate New York on the grounds of the Binghamton State Hospital, where her mother, a Hungarian refugee, worked as a psychiatrist. She is completing a memoir about that experience. She received her B.A. at Bard College, her Ph.D. in literature at the University of Connecticut, and received certification as a psychoanalyst at the Object Relations Institute of New York. She lives with her husband, who’s a painter, and their two magnificent cats. They divide their time between New York City and Olivebridge, New York.
· Paperback: 104 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-209-9