The Thinking Eye

SKU: 978-1-60235-788-4

Jennifer Atkinson

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Edited by Jon Thompson

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978-1-60235-788-4 (paperback, $14) 978-1-60235-789-1 (PDF, $12) © 2016 by Parlor Press. 78 pages.

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David Marx. Review. David Marx: Book Reviews. (14 Oct. 2017).


Jennifer Atkinson's The Thinking Eye, her fifth collection, looks at the syntax of our living, evolving world, paying close attention to the actual quartz and gnats, the goats and iced-over, onrushing rivers. The poems also look at the looking itself—how places and lives become "landscapes" and the ways the lenses of language, art, ecology, myth, and memory—enlarge and focus our seeing. If it's true, as Gaston Bachelard says, that whether a poet looks through a telescope or a microscope, [she] sees the same thing, then what Atkinson sees is an earth filled with violence and beauty, human malice and ten thousand separate moments of joy. Clearly in love with the earth and the (English) language—all those inter-dependent lives and forms—Atkinson pays attention to both with a Bishoppy eye, a Hopkinsy ear, and an ecopoet's conscience. Behind the book's sharp images and lush music creaks Chernobyl's rusty Ferris wheel.

Praise for Jennifer Atkinson's Poetry

Canticle of the Night Path
With Canticle of the Night Path Jennifer Atkinson sets in motion a deeply compelling sequence of praise songs. Whether their origins are remote in time or close to hand, the objects of her praise become intricately connected as each is illuminated in turn--by electric light, by candle-light, by lightning. She models a patient attention that gives way to sudden insights and the reader is transported by the clarity and music of her forms.—SUSAN STEWART

Drift Ice
I don't know of another poet who can, in Thoreau's words, so beautifully 'impress the winds and streams into [her] service.—ALLISON FUNK

As ice drifts in ocean currents, so these poems, keen and visionary, move on inner currents and reveal astonishing worlds within our world.—ARTHUR SZE

The Drowned City
With each rereading, The Drowned City becomes even more exciting, engaging, astonishing—for its richness of music, its agility of mind, its exactingness of vision, its unswerving ability to locate 'the silence between/ illumination and when its echo catches up' ("What Happened Next").—CARL PHILLIPS

About the Author

Jennifer Atkinson is the author of five collections of poetry—The Dogwood Tree, The Drowned City, Drift Ice, Canticle of the Night Path (New Measure Poetry Prize), and The Thinking Eye. Individual poems have appeared in various journals including Field, Image, Witness, New American Writing, and The Missouri Review. She teaches in the English Department and the MFA and BFA programs at George Mason University in Virginia.

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