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Bestiary

Elise Paschen

Publication Year: 2009

"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.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Copyright, Dedication

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Epigraph

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pp. 11

Part I

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pp. 13

Monarch

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pp. 15

Engagement

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pp. 16-17

Moving In

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pp. 18-19

Barn Owl and Moon

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pp. 20

Fertility

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pp. 21

Trapeze

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pp. 22

The Flycatcher’s Fall

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pp. 24

Prey

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pp. 25-26

Miss Spider’s Guests

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pp. 27

Hive

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pp. 28-29

Sanctuary

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pp. 30-31

Under Siege

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pp. 32

Part II

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pp. 33

Wi´-gi-e

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pp. 35-36

Warning Signs

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pp. 37

Afterward

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pp. 38

Behind the Swan

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pp. 39

Ghost-Echo

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pp. 40

Disappearing Act

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pp. 41

Solstice in Snow

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pp. 42

Pond in Winter

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pp. 43

Sea-Change

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pp. 44

Isthmus

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pp. 45

Squibnocket

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pp. 46-47

Chancing Upon the Manatees

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pp. 48-49

Raccoon on a Branch

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pp. 50-51

Part III

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pp. 53

The Broken Swan

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pp. 55-56

Ash

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pp. 57-58

Crossing

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pp. 59

Eurydice

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pp. 60-61

Mary of Magdala

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pp. 62-63

Outside the Tomb

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pp. 64

Farewell

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pp. 65

Under the Dome

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pp. 66-67

Cicadas

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pp. 68-69

Cradle-Song

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pp. 70

Threshold

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pp. 71

Feast for the Living

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pp. 72

First Snow

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pp. 73

Magnificent Frigatebird

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pp. 74-75

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 77-78

“Birth” is dedicated to Alexandra Brainerd; “Hive” to Stephen Brainerd; “Sea-Change” to Lisa Lee; “Raccoon on a Branch” to Jason Shinder; “Under the Dome” to Agha Shahid Ali; and “Magnificent Frigatebird” to Stuart Brainerd...

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Biographical Note

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pp. 79

Elise Paschen is the author of Infidelities, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and Houses: Coasts. Her poems have been published in The New Republic, Ploughshares, and Shenandoah, among other magazines, and in numerous anthologies. She is editor of the New York Times best-selling anthology Poetry Speaks to Children and co-editor of...


E-ISBN-13: 9781597093729
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091312
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091316

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: First