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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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Upcoming Events

Graywolf at 45: Poetry reading co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America

Date:
Location:
National Arts Club in New York, NYview map

A poetry reading featuring Catherine Barnett (Human Hours), Ilya Kaminsky (Deaf Republic), Layli Long Soldier (WHEREAS), Vijay Seshadri (3 Sections), and Monica Youn (Blackacre). Co-sponsored by the Poetry Society of America and hosted by PSA Executive Director Alice Quinn.

Free and open to the public, with reception to follow.

Praise

  • “A fast-paced but unflappable tour of hotels, airports, college drop-offs, gynecologists’ offices and the cafes of Lower Manhattan. . . . The moments of stillness in Human Hours are equally compelling.”The New York Times Book Review
  • “[Human Hours] brim[s] with emotional intelligence.”The New York Times Style Magazine
  • “Barnett’s marvelous third collection is populated by devastatingly wry (and wryly devastating) poems about aging, time, and the existential predicaments—violence, trauma, consciousness itself. . . . Iconoclastic and penetrating, the speaker of these poems unsettles and enlivens.”Vulture
  • “[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
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