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Bestiary
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summary
"The poems in Elise Paschen's Bestiary explore domestic preoccupations set against the backdrop of the wild-heartedness, real and imagined, of the animal world," praises the poet Jason Shinder. In this modern-day Bestiary, or "Book of Beasts," the line between animal and human is thinly-drawn. The daughter of a Celtic king, through love, is transformed from beast to human; lovers take flight as moon and owl; manatees transform, before the explorers' eyes, into mermaids. This dynamic runs throughout the collection: taking flight, hovering between air and earth, plunging, and then resurfacing from water. The poems create a constant engagement between what tethers us to our daily lives—marriage, motherhood, raising a family, the loss of parents in old age—and the desire for other worlds. Exploring notions of transformation, these poems cross thresholds between animal and human, between death and life. Award-winning poet, Elise Paschen, creates in her third and most complex poetry collection, work which is elegant and passionate, preternaturally still and reckless all at once. Paschen displays a variety of form and nuance from ghazals to long-lined free verse poems. Writing out of a distinct Western literary tradition, but tapping into her Native American (Osage) roots, Paschen celebrates the mythic, the unusual, the magical glimpsed in the everyday.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Epigraph
  2. p. 11
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  1. Part I
  2. p. 13
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  1. Monarch
  2. p. 15
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  1. Engagement
  2. pp. 16-17
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  1. Moving In
  2. pp. 18-19
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  1. Barn Owl and Moon
  2. p. 20
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  1. Fertility
  2. p. 21
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  1. Trapeze
  2. p. 22
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  1. Birth
  2. p. 23
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  1. The Flycatcher’s Fall
  2. p. 24
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  1. Prey
  2. pp. 25-26
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  1. Miss Spider’s Guests
  2. p. 27
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  1. Hive
  2. pp. 28-29
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  1. Sanctuary
  2. pp. 30-31
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  1. Under Siege
  2. p. 32
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  1. Part II
  2. p. 33
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  1. Wi´-gi-e
  2. pp. 35-36
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  1. Warning Signs
  2. p. 37
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  1. Afterward
  2. p. 38
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  1. Behind the Swan
  2. p. 39
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  1. Ghost-Echo
  2. p. 40
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  1. Disappearing Act
  2. p. 41
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  1. Solstice in Snow
  2. p. 42
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  1. Pond in Winter
  2. p. 43
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  1. Sea-Change
  2. p. 44
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  1. Isthmus
  2. p. 45
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  1. Squibnocket
  2. pp. 46-47
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  1. Chancing Upon the Manatees
  2. pp. 48-49
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  1. Raccoon on a Branch
  2. pp. 50-51
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  1. Part III
  2. p. 53
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  1. The Broken Swan
  2. pp. 55-56
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  1. Ash
  2. pp. 57-58
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  1. Crossing
  2. p. 59
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  1. Eurydice
  2. pp. 60-61
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  1. Mary of Magdala
  2. pp. 62-63
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  1. Outside the Tomb
  2. p. 64
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  1. Farewell
  2. p. 65
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  1. Under the Dome
  2. pp. 66-67
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  1. Cicadas
  2. pp. 68-69
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  1. Cradle-Song
  2. p. 70
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  1. Threshold
  2. p. 71
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  1. Feast for the Living
  2. p. 72
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  1. First Snow
  2. p. 73
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  1. Magnificent Frigatebird
  2. pp. 74-75
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 77-78
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  1. Biographical Note
  2. p. 79
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