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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

Take Nothing

The poems of Take Nothing are embedded in connections to family and landscape, to memory and possibility. They especially explore and distill those indelible, sometimes small, moments that cumulatively shape the arc of a life. These can be as surprising as the visitation of a hawk and as significant as the death of a parent. In a voice that ranges from the wry to the revelatory, and from mourning to celebration, Deborah Pope’s poems speak with lyrical precision and deep experience.

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“From the closing of an old Howard Johnson’s to the Perseid meteor shower to an eighth-century monk, Pope’s range is as remarkable as her poems. This collection embraces the complexity of her relationships and connections to a multitude of things: nature, faith, family, objects, love, and more. Her language is at once direct and evocative, perfectly striking the difficult balance between simple, plain honesty and the verve and passion that comes from the voice of a life that is fully aware of its truth and contradiction, clarity and doubt, mortal bounds and limitless imagination.”

Richard Blanco, presidential inaugural poet and author of How to Love a Country

“Pope’s Take Nothing is a triumph. Opening with ‘Threshold,’ a series of memorable epigrams preparing the way for the turns and configurations of the book’s central concerns, the collection is remarkable in its range, its variety and its careful focus. Poems like ‘Appearances,’ which is a walk through a midwestern department store, are whittled fine as wire, a whole family’s struggles contained. An elegy for ‘The Next to Last Howard Johnson’s’ is priceless, funny, and poignant. The title poem showcases this poet’s incredible attention to lyric detail and foreshadows the darker poems in the second section’s themes of loss, regret, and painful learning. The final section is full of celebration, yet touched with knowledge of frailty. It ends with the ambitious longer poem, ‘The Dream of Eadfrith,’ in the voice of the monk who illuminated the Lindisfarne Gospels on an island in the eighth century. The story he tells is heavy with toil, gossamer, and beautiful as the flora and fauna of that remote place. Take Nothing speaks a singing free verse, lush with crime and echo. Like time. Like music.”

Betty Adcock, author of Rough Fugue

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