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Book Title

The Descent

Author 1
Sophie Cabot Black
I have not handled the ordinary well
And wandered into much time spent
Taking on the unfaithful,

Blunder and flaw.
—from "Heaven, Which Is"

The Descent, Sophie Cabot Black's anticipated follow-up to her award-winning debut, The Misunderstanding of Nature, describes a restless spirit at the crossroads of love and damage, rapture and disenchantment, the mountain and the descent. "Heaven is only / What it cannot be," one poem admits, but what is heaven after a beloved departs, after language reveals itself as inadequate, after the harrowing of personal and collective disaster? The voices of these poems struggle through the hesitancies of doubt and loss to end at more than survival, more than witness; they achieve clarity by singing of the resiliencies of paradise, after paradise inevitably fails.

In these spare, lyric outcries, Sophie Cabot Black affirms her place as one of our most spiritually meaningful and ecstatically crafted contemporary poets.

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The long-awaited second collection by Sophie Cabot Black, winner of the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award

About the Author

Sophie Cabot Black
Credit: Alexander Black
Sophie Cabot Black is the author of The Exchange and two previous poetry collections, The Descent, winner of the Connecticut Book Award, and The Misunderstanding of Nature, winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. She lives in New York City and in rural Connecticut.
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  • “Written in lyrical passages, [The Descent] is a book of quiet, almost primordial, intensity. . . Her poetic imagery defies ordinary description.”—Sanford Herald
  • “Spare to the point of elegance. . . The work [is] elusive but enchanting.”—American Poet
  • “Such is the territory of The Descent—outside the known, in an untamed place of grave danger and great beauty.”—Field
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