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Human Hours

Poems
Catherine Barnett
Look at these books: hope.
Look at this face: hope.
When I was young I studied with Richard Rorty, that was lucky,
I stared out the window and couldn't understand a word he said,
he drew a long flat line after the C he gave me,
the class was called Metaphysics and Epistemology,
that's eleven syllables, that’s
hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope.
—from “O Esperanza!”
 
Catherine Barnett's tragicomic third collection, Human Hours, shuttles between a Whitmanian embrace of others and a kind of rapacious solitude. Barnett speaks from the middle of hope and confusion, carrying philosophy into the everyday. Watching a son become a young man, a father become a restless beloved shell, and a country betray its democratic ideals, the speakers try to make sense of such departures. Four lyric essays investigate the essential urge and appeal of questions that are “accursed,” that are limited—and unanswered—by answers. What are we to do with the endangered human hours that remain to us? Across the leaps and swerves of this collection, the fevered mind tries to slow—or at least measure—time with quiet bravura: by counting a lover’s breaths; by remembering a father’s space-age watch; by envisioning the apocalyptic future while bedding down on a hard, cold floor, head resting on a dictionary. Human Hours pulses with the absurd, with humor that accompanies the precariousness of the human condition. 
 

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-55597-814-3
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
112
Trim Size
6.5 x 9
The triumphant follow-up collection to The Game of Boxes, winner of the James Laughlin Award
 

About the Author

Catherine  Barnett
Credit: Jacqueline Mia Foster
Catherine Barnett is the author of three poetry collections, Human Hours, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced and The Game of Boxes, winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her honors include a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is a member of the core faculty of New York University's Creative Writing Program, a Distinguished Lecturer at Hunter College, and an independent editor in New York City.
 
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Praise

  • “[Human Hours] unspools in a conversational, free-associative idiom. . . . Even in our darkest hours, the poems insist, company and comedy are never far away.”—BOMB.com
  • “Barnett’s style is conversational, convivial. . . . The poems in Human Hours both disrupt time and hold it in place.”Ploughshares
  • “Elegantly understated. . . . The emotional depth and observational nuance of these poems is something to behold.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “A book-long meditation on time marked by vigorous inquiry. . . . Barnett’s interrogations are unrelenting, occasionally riddles, like koans, posed in response to life’s challenges. . . . But there is a constant search for answers, through an interrogation of the everyday.”American Poets
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