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The Only Thing That Matters

By Kim Jensen

Publication Year: 2013

“The Only Thing That Matters” is a collection of poems that engage with and expound upon the work of poet Fanny Howe. Through a specific process designed by the author, Jensen combines Howe’s words and her own to create entirely new poems that challenge our understanding of postmodernist work. The author builds on Howe’s wide-ranging themes of intimacy, spirituality, and political agency. Her poems pay homage to a celebrated poet, while simultaneously conveying a belief in open-mindedness and the possibility for love.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

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Author’s Note

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pp. vii-viii

...The Only Thing That Matters is a set of serial poems that represent an extended creative engagement with the poetic works of Fanny Howe. By using a random but mathematical formula, I selected words from the following books by Howe: Introduction to the World...

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Otherness and a Wilderness

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pp. 1-18

...I had always planned to live on the run, now I’m a stranger running to you alone— the last great expert standing, red. You who argues for nothing and bows to nothing and wears energy and feathers— such fountains of light —and who finds the hidden surprises between home and heaven...

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The Only Thing That Matters

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pp. 19-32

...Poised at the underworld’s gate tanks assemble as consequences —the devil’s due tomorrow. His skull shakes in wind with toys for the kids all in a clatter. At Florida Street Park the mothers wait at rough oak tables. The day has become like gold less rigid, as compassion is— a requirement, the only thing that matters...

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A Dark Shape in the Vineyard

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pp. 33-44

... Government and winter master this species the way a gum tree patterns its roots to a pond of ice the way particles of sunlight reach into your sleep— a liturgy of salt and feelings you’d like to harvest tomorrow when the dull hand in you moves twice...

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Lenient Sentence

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pp. 45-54

...Locate the law no don’t selves are skidding to any given asylum on this mindblown egg of an imitation planet the lambs are cursing over by the vowels someone catches my attention mercy I’ve been expecting you...

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A Different Mind than Mine

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pp. 55-64

...In the dream my body rose from its sleep and dreamed it owned a different mind than mine. This sadness wasn’t new. Like a light in the dark which seeks but doesn’t find others like it. Where did this need begin? Where does it end? Coupled whites, glazed over, waded through traffic. So sure of themselves, sure they wouldn’t go under.

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Epilogue: Border Questions/Border Encounters: Fanny Howe

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pp. 65-82

...It’s been nearly twenty years since I wrote these poems, and more than that since I met Fanny Howe, whose haunting, innovative writings were the central inspiration for this collection. What was happening back then—and how did this work come into being? In February 1991, I was twenty-four years old, a lapsed Catholic, and pregnant with my fi rst child. I was enrolled in Fanny’s graduate poetry seminar...


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pp. 83-84

About the Author

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pp. 94-95

E-ISBN-13: 9780815650539
E-ISBN-10: 0815650531
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815609674
Print-ISBN-10: 0815609671

Page Count: 88
Publication Year: 2013