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Ascension Theory

Christopher Bolin

Publication Year: 2013

“This meditation,” writes Christopher Bolin in Ascension Theory,“is about appearing without motes between us: / it is practice for presenting oneself to God.” Bolin’s stark and masterful debut collection records a deeply moving attempt to restore poetry to the possibilities of redemptive action. The physical and emotional landscapes of these poems, rendered with clear-eyed precision, are beyond the reaches of protection and consolation: tundra, frozen sea, barren woodlands, skies littered with satellite trash, fields marked by abandoned, makeshift shrines, sick rooms, vacant reaches that provide “nodes / in every direction // for sensing // the second coming.”

Bolin’s eye and mind are acutely tuned to the edges of broken objects and vistas, to the mysterious remnants out of which meaningful speech might be reconstituted. These poems unfold in a world of beautiful, crystalline absence, one that is nearly depopulated, as though encountered in the aftermath of an unnamed violence to the land and to the soul.

In poems of prodigious elegance and anxious control, Bolin evokes influences as various as Robert Frost, James Wright, Robert Hass, George Oppen, and Robert Creeley, while fashioning his own original and urgent idiom, one that both theorizes and tests the prospects of imaginative ascension, and finds “new locutions for referencing / sky.”

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Acknowledgments

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pp. 2-9

Contents

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pp. ix-xii

Equation for Cresting

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pp. 1-14

Updraft

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pp. 2-15

And Swung Them

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pp. 3-16

Annapolis

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pp. 4-17

Snow Bridge

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pp. 5-6

read more

The Tally

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pp. 7-20

And the impersonator, chopping with her hand at the base of a pine ...

Footfalls

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pp. 8-9

Snow Falling on Scales

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pp. 10-23

Remnants of Ice-shelves

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pp. 11-24

The Swiftly Emptying Air

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pp. 12-13

Capital

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pp. 14-27

Remnants of a Still-life

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pp. 15-28

Blizzard

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pp. 16-29

Salvage-weather

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pp. 17-18

Rising

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pp. 19-32

Ascension Theory

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pp. 20-33

Natural Histories

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pp. 21-22

The Tiers of Plains

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pp. 23-36

Stained Glass

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pp. 24-37

Signal

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pp. 25-38

Latitude

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pp. 26-27

Icelandic Summer

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pp. 28-41

Interior

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pp. 29-42

Instrument

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pp. 30-43

As Makers of Sound

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pp. 31-32

Firebreak

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pp. 33-46

The Continuation of Earth through Light

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pp. 34-47

Squall

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pp. 35-48

Winter Range

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pp. 36-49

Economy

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pp. 37-38

Landscape

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pp. 39-52

Rite of Spring

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pp. 40-53

Supplemental Oxygen

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pp. 41-42

Regents

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pp. 43-56

Arctic Snow

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pp. 44-57

Antigua

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pp. 45-58

Attending

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pp. 46-59

New Year

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pp. 47-60

The Iron Range

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pp. 48-61

Estate

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pp. 49-62

Procedure

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pp. 50-63

Sentinel

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pp. 51-64

Empire

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pp. 52-65

Self-arrest

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pp. 53-66

Moss in the Shape of Boards

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pp. 54-55

Revolution

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pp. 56-69

Enlightenment

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pp. 57-70

Anniversary

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pp. 58-71

Cartographer’s Mood

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pp. 59-72

Observances upon Returning

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pp. 60-73

View

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pp. 61-74

Say Feast

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pp. 62-75

Brittle Latch

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pp. 63-76

Lather

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pp. 64-77

Northern Plains

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pp. 65-78

Anonymity

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pp. 66-79

Broadcast

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pp. 67-80

Pacific Rim

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pp. 68-81

Another Last Transmission

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pp. 69-82

Allowances

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pp. 70-83

Elegy

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pp. 71-84

Census

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pp. 72-85

Kul House Poets

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p. 86-86


E-ISBN-13: 9781609382056
E-ISBN-10: 1609382056
Print-ISBN-13: 9781609381950
Print-ISBN-10: 1609381955

Page Count: 86
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1st ed.
Series Title: Kuhl House Poets
Series Editor Byline: Mark Levine

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