The Mind-Body Problem
Published by Seren
Includes 'Night Subway', Poem of the Week at the Guardian online (23-29 July).
The Mind-Body Problem is the UK edition of the National Books Critics Circle Award-winning book of poetry by the renowned American poet and essayist, Katha Pollitt.
Politically and artfully subversive, Pollitt touches on subjects as diverse as ‘Lives of the 19th Century Poetesses’, ‘Collectibles’ and ‘The Night Subway’. There are also poems devoted to revisionist tales from the Bible, where female characters like ‘Martha’ and ‘Lot’s Wife’ get the last word. A mid-life perspective, bringing both wisdom and humour, confirms her place at the front rank of Modern American Poets.
"These are poems that delight in the textures, colours and aromas of everyday life, but, like a walk through a new city, they take the reader down unpredictable turnings, and reach unexpected but satisfying conclusions. Pollitt speaks with an engagingly matter-of-fact wisdom, balancing seriousness and humour, the long view and the moment of intensity. Her work will delight British readers with its eye for detail, its lyric grace and its unpretentious humanity."
"You'd think little new could be said about ageing and the passage of time, but it is freshness that strikes us, astonishing yet proverbial, in Katha Pollitt's new book. Here our lives might be 'hard and pure like marble statues', our voices might emerge from 'the kingdom of health and silence' and the night subway may well open on to Xerxes with his troops. Here the familiar wakes gratefully to sour milk in a strange city that is clear, humane and grave, beloved yet forever strange."
“It's awfully good to have such a great-hearted poet as Katha Pollitt take on mortality's darkest themes. Again and again she finds a human-sized crack of light and squeezes us through with her.”
Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate
“Her poetry is a fascinating progress of distinction, of steadying insight, and of meditative enrichment.”
Richard Howard, Pulitzer Prize-winner
Katha Pollitt is an American poet, essayist, and a prominent columnist for The Nation. She has won many prizes and awards for her work, including the National Books Critics Circle Award for her first collection of poems, Antarctic Traveller (Knopf, 1982), as well as for the American edition of this book, published by Random House and excerpted by Granta. She has previously appeared on right-wing journalist Bernard Goldberg’s list of ‘The 100 People Who are Screwing Up America’.