Reviews:

Read Valparaiso Poetry Hall Review Here
Read Valparaiso Poetry McCann Review Here
Read Yanaguana Literary Review Here
Read Lori May's Review on Rattle Here

On Patricia Fargnoli's "Duties of the Spirit"
by Janet McCann

“The question that he asks in all but words,” says Robert Frost of his Oven Bird, “is what to make of a diminished thing.” The poems of Pat Fargnoli’s Duties of the Spirit ask this question in the most carefully chosen words, longing, glimmering words that speak to readers of all ages of what it is like to grow old and of the kind of prisons age makes and windows it opens. Pat Fargnoli’s poems ache and yearn; they bring desire to a high pitch of intensity that lasts long after the book is closed. They return at odd moments, by line, by title, by image, after the reader goes back to his or her own life. Continue Reading or Download PDF

(Photo by Constance Koons)

A Note on Patricia Fargnoli's Work by
Ilya Kaminsky

With majority of poets of her generation being employed as college professors, Patricia Fargnoli’s position of an ageing woman writing about life at the near poverty-level in America, is unique and special. Let me correct myself right away: it is special, first of all, not for its subjects but for the lyricism and passion of its language. And yet, it is the subject matter that so clearly drives her poetry, empowers it. There are two poets in America who have been justly celebrated for writing about the same subjects for years: Phillip Levine (poverty, working class) and Stanley Kunitz (ageing). And, yet, while she has clearly learned for both, Patricia Fargnili has found her own, very distinct place, and from there she speaks with a very moving—and, at its best, deeply spiritual, wise—voice that tells us about what it means to live in our time.Continue Reading or Download PDF

Small Wisdoms, Large Spirit:
Patricia Fargnoli's Duties of the Spirit
by Edward Byrne

The stars continue as far as we know,
as far as we can see, and as far as we can’t.
—Patricia Fargnoli, “Small Wisdoms”
When Mary Oliver, as judge for Utah State University Press’s May Swenson Poetry Award, chose Patricia Fargnoli’s first manuscript of poems, Necessary Light, to be the 1999 winner, the selection seemed admirable and appropriate for a number of reasons. Foremost among them, Fargnoli’s poetry appeared directly descended from the works of May Swenson and Mary Oliver, as well as additional distinguished women poets who had written about the relationship between nature and self with great insight, especially when the subject of the poem involves experiences of marriage, motherhood, or other aspects of life viewed from, and enriched by, a distinctly female perspective. Indeed, the strong sense of affinity for
nature’s beauty and grace, combined with a feeling of awe for its mystery and power, in Fargnoli’s poems may be traced back in an honored line through the finest works of Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, and Emily Dickinson. Continue Reading or Download PDF

 

 


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