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Anne Stevenson, Astonishment

What a warm, life-enhancing book Astonishment is. Poetry seems to ooze out of Stevenson with an ease born of long practice. The mood is above all one of celebration, celebration of the strangeness and joy of being alive in the body, with active senses and an active intelligence to accept the abundance of life’s gifts.

One of the first poems, “Constable Clouds and a Kestrel’s Feather”, is a kind of disguised ars poetica and ars vivendi. It draws one in by sensuous textures, voluptuous phrasing, beautiful, sharp visual images and playful fantasy. Comparing actual clouds to clouds painted by Constable, discussing … Continue Reading