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Commonwealth of Wings

An Ornithological Biography Based on the Life of John James Audubon

Pamela Alexander

Publication Year: 1991

A combination of poetry, nature writing, and biography in one book-length "persona-poem."Combining the best of poetry, nature writing, and biography, Pamela Alexander in her book-length "persona-poem" brings to life John James Audubon and a world not yet aware of nature's limits. She distills the essence of this remarkable naturalist-artist and gives him voice to tell his life's story in fragments of letters, journal entries, actual vignettes and lyrical passages, Captivating and accessible, her poem reads with the authority of autobiography, the dramatic coherence of a novel, and the evocative clarity of an Audubon print. The reader, briefly transported to the natural world of America a century and a half ago, cannot help but contrast its condition today and feel a poignant sense of loss.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Title Page

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Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

1.1785-1803

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pp. 1-10

Audubon Enfant

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pp. 1-

We Lose St. Domingue

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pp. 2-

Nantes, the Revolution

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pp. 3-4

The Siege Outlasted

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pp. 5-

At Coueron. My First Gun.

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pp. 6-7

Father's Home

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pp. 8-

We Are Gentlemen Abroad

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pp. 9-10

II. 1803-1808

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pp. 11-16

Mill Grove

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pp. 11-

The Englishman's Eldest Daughter

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pp. 12-

Balancing

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pp. 13-

The Current

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pp. 14-

Letter to Lucy

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pp. 15-

Our Conspiracy of Pleasure

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pp. 16-

III. 1808-1826

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pp. 17-28

We Find the Outset Erratic

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pp. 17-

The Inn, Louisville

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pp. 18-

A Visit from Wilson

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pp. 19-

At Ease

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pp. 20-

Disaster

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pp. 21-

A Profitable Life

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pp. 22-

Portraits

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pp. 23-

Arrangements

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pp. 24-

My Ornithology Proceeds

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pp. 25-

Letter to Lucy

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pp. 26-

Losses

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pp. 27-

Journal, at Sea

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pp. 28-

iv. 1826-1829

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pp. 29-38

Spirits

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pp. 29-

Letter to Lucy

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pp. 30-

From My Journal

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pp. 31-

Etude

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pp. 32-

Interlude

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pp. 33-

Edinburgh

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pp. 34-

Letter to Victor

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pp. 35-36

I Imagine Thee

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pp. 37-

Return

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pp. 38-

v. 1829-1840

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pp. 39-51

After the Stir & Sweep of Travel

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pp. 39-

I Am Restless despite Myself

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pp. 40-

Cape Florida

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pp. 41-

Consolation

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pp. 42-

Excursion

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pp. 43-

Wreck

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pp. 44-

To Lucy

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pp. 46-

Inventory. Journal.

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pp. 47-48

Aboard the Ripley

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pp. 49-

Inventory. Resolve.

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pp. 50-51

vi. 1840-1851

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pp. 52-58

Losses

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pp. 52-

Letter to John Bachman

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pp. 53-

Sight

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pp. 54-55

Reprise

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pp. 56-57

Reprise

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pp. 58-

Notes / Bibliography

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pp. 59-60


E-ISBN-13: 9780819569929
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819521910

Page Count: 72
Publication Year: 1991

Series Title: Wesleyan Poetry Series

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Subject Headings

  • Audubon, John James, 1785-1851.
  • Ornithologists -- United States -- Biography.
  • Animal painters -- United States -- Biography.
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