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title

The Book of a Hundred Hands

Cole Swensen

Publication Year: 2005

The hand is second only to language in defining the human being, and its constant presence makes it a ready reminder of our humanity, with all its privileges and obligations. In this dazzling collection, Cole Swensen explores the hand from any angle approachable by language and art. Her hope: to exhaust the hand as subject matter; her joy: the fact that she couldn't.These short poems reveal the hand from a hundred different perspectives. Incorporating sign language, drawing manuals, paintings from the 14th to the 20th century, shadow puppets, imagined histories, positions (the “hand as a boatless sail”), and professions (“the hand as window in which the panes infinitesimal”), Cole Swensen's fine hand is “that which augments” our understanding and appreciation of “this freak wing,” this “wheel that comforts none” yet remains “a fruit the size and shape of the heart.”

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

The author would like to thank the editors and staffs of the following journals for their generous support in publishing these poems, in some cases, in earlier versions and/or under altered or different titles. . . . I would also like to thank a bend Press, which published an earlier version of section four as a chapbook titled And Hand. ...

One: The History of the Hand

The History of the Hand

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p. 3-3

The Prehistory of the Hand

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p. 4-4

The Hand Thinks

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p. 5-5

The Hand Defined: 1

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p. 6-6

The Hand Defined: 2

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p. 7-7

The Hand Defined: 3

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p. 8-8

Chirologia, or the Natural Language of the Hand

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p. 9-9

Of an Alphabet of Steppes

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p. 10-10

By the Eighteenth Century

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p. 11-11

A History of the Hand

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p. 12-12

The Hand as Historical

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p. 13-13

A History of the Hand

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p. 14-14

Two: Positions of the Hand

Grasp

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p. 17-17

Fan

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p. 18-18

Grip

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p. 19-19

Hold

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p. 20-20

Sigh

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p. 21-21

Juggle

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p. 22-22

Traveling

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p. 23-23

Glove

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p. 24-24

The Mechanics of the Hand

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pp. 25-26

Three: Professions of the Hand

Case Histories: Physical Aphasia

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p. 29-29

The Hand as Lamp

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p. 30-30

The Hand as Anchor

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p. 31-31

The Hand that Caresses

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p. 32-32

The Hand as Origami

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p. 33-33

The Hand as 19th-Century Harbor

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p. 34-34

The Theater of the Hand

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p. 35-35

The Hand as Ideogram

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p. 36-36

The Hand as Window

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p. 37-37

The Hand as Mansion

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p. 38-38

The Hand as Sun God

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p. 39-39

The Hand Polishes

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pp. 40-41

Expression

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p. 42-42

The Hand as Staircase

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p. 43-43

The Hand as Nest

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p. 44-44

The Hand as Mango

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pp. 45-46

Four: Representations of the Hand

The Hands’ Testament

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p. 49-49

The Hands Testify

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p. 50-50

The Hand Painted In

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p. 51-51

The Hand Sculpted

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p. 52-52

The Hand Etched in Glass

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p. 53-53

The Hand Sketched

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p. 54-54

The Hand Photographed

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p. 55-55

The Hand in Fresco

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p. 56-56

Five: The Anatomy of the Hand

Intro to the Palmar View

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p. 59-59

The Palmar View

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p. 60-60

The Palmar View, Continued

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p. 61-61

Palmar 3

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p. 62-62

Fingers 1

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p. 63-63

Fingers 2

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p. 64-64

Fingers: Alignment

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p. 65-65

Alignment, Continued

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p. 66-66

Fingertips

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p. 67-67

The Hand: Lower View: Oblique

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p. 68-68

The Bevel Itself

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p. 69-69

Knuckles

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p. 70-70

The Thumb: Based On

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p. 71-71

The Intern's Problem

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p. 72-72

The Thumb, In Sum

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p. 73-73

The Hand: Branching Out

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p. 74-74

The Hand: Back View, Fingers Arches

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p. 75-75

The Hand: Other Arches

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p. 76-76

The Fist

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p. 77-77

The Anatomy of Trees

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p. 78-78

The Mechanics of the Hand

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pp. 79-80

Six: American Sign Language

Signs

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p. 83-83

The Manual Alphabet

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p. 84-84

Understanding the Past, Present, and Future

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p. 85-85

Pronouns

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p. 86-86

Thinking and Feeling

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p. 87-87

Flood

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p. 88-88

Garden

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p. 89-89

Rain

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p. 90-90

Ghost (Holy)

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p. 91-91

Deer

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p. 92-92

Evening

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p. 93-93

To Form the Simple Past

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p. 94-94

The Present Perfect: To Have

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p. 95-95

Sun

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p. 96-96

Animal

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pp. 97-98

Seven: Shadow Puppets

The First Movies

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p. 101-101

Birds

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p. 102-102

Birds

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p. 103-103

Birds

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p. 104-104

Advances in the Form

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pp. 105-106

Eight: A Manual of Gesture: Public Speaking for the Gentleman (1879)

Right Hand Descending Oblique Prone

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p. 109-109

Right Hand Horizontal Front Prone

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p. 110-110

Right Hand Ascending Lateral Supine

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p. 111-111

Right Hand Ascending Oblique Vertical

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p. 112-112

Both Hands Descending Lateral Prone

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pp. 113-114

Nine: Paintings of Possible Hands

Wilton Diptych, 1395

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p. 117-117

Fra Angelico, Cell 7, San Marco, 1438-43

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p. 118-118

Dominique Ingres, Venus at Paphos, 1852–53

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p. 119-119

Auguste Rodin, Cathedral, 1908

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p. 120-120

Marc Chagall, Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers, 1912

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p. 121-121

Marcel Duchamp, Portrait of Doctor Raymond Dumouchel, 1910

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p. 122-122

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaes Tulp, detail, 1632

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p. 123-123

Norman Bluhm and Frank O’Hara, Hand, 1960

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p. 124-124

Sean Scully, Landline Sand, 1999

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pp. 125-126


E-ISBN-13: 9781587296475
E-ISBN-10: 1587296470
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877459460
Print-ISBN-10: 0877459460

Page Count: 142
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Kuhl House Poets

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Subject Headings

  • Hand -- Poetry.
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