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A major new book-length visionary poem from a writer "whose poems are among the major astonishments of contemporary poetry" (Robert Polito, The Poetry Foundation) Alice Notley has become one of the most highly regarded figures in American poetry, a master of the visionary mode acclaimed for genre-bending, book-length poems of great ambition and adventurousness. Her newest b A major new book-length visionary poem from a writer "whose poems are among the major astonishments of contemporary poetry" (Robert Polito, The Poetry Foundation) Alice Notley has become one of the most highly regarded figures in American poetry, a master of the visionary mode acclaimed for genre-bending, book-length poems of great ambition and adventurousness. Her newest book, For the Ride, is another such work. The protagonist, "One," is suddenly within The Glyph, whose walls projects scenes One can enter, and One does so. Other beings begin to materialize, and it seems like they (and One) are all survivors of a global disaster. They board a ship to flee to another dimension; they decide what they must save on this Ark are words, and they gather together as many as are deemed fit to save. They "sail" and meanwhile begin to change the language they are speaking, before disembarking at an abandoned future city.


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A major new book-length visionary poem from a writer "whose poems are among the major astonishments of contemporary poetry" (Robert Polito, The Poetry Foundation) Alice Notley has become one of the most highly regarded figures in American poetry, a master of the visionary mode acclaimed for genre-bending, book-length poems of great ambition and adventurousness. Her newest b A major new book-length visionary poem from a writer "whose poems are among the major astonishments of contemporary poetry" (Robert Polito, The Poetry Foundation) Alice Notley has become one of the most highly regarded figures in American poetry, a master of the visionary mode acclaimed for genre-bending, book-length poems of great ambition and adventurousness. Her newest book, For the Ride, is another such work. The protagonist, "One," is suddenly within The Glyph, whose walls projects scenes One can enter, and One does so. Other beings begin to materialize, and it seems like they (and One) are all survivors of a global disaster. They board a ship to flee to another dimension; they decide what they must save on this Ark are words, and they gather together as many as are deemed fit to save. They "sail" and meanwhile begin to change the language they are speaking, before disembarking at an abandoned future city.

42 review for For the Ride

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anima

    Deserted images, rough pathways among mosaic fragments spread on the canvas of a delicate heart. Within the borders of poetry, an interesting new style built with dispersed particles of grace, sensitivity, gentleness. “One remembers too much: love has killed One. What tense is that? Past love, that’s a tense. When one enters into a rock one can’t regulate, it’s too hard. Death exists to make it harder. They’re just words, though, here. The words-to-be crowd round. Not separate! That’s the first thin Deserted images, rough pathways among mosaic fragments spread on the canvas of a delicate heart. Within the borders of poetry, an interesting new style built with dispersed particles of grace, sensitivity, gentleness. “One remembers too much: love has killed One. What tense is that? Past love, that’s a tense. When one enters into a rock one can’t regulate, it’s too hard. Death exists to make it harder. They’re just words, though, here. The words-to-be crowd round. Not separate! That’s the first thing to know.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    Lots and lots of pyrotechnics using and about language. Reminds me a lot of the modernist formal language experiments of Gertrude Stein or T.S Eliot or Samuel Beckett. But just like those works, while this one was intellectually interesting, it mostly left me cold. I can see how Notley was putting passion into some of her arguments around language and words and their importance, but the word to suss them out put me so into my head, that the emotional impact just washed right over me. I'm left im Lots and lots of pyrotechnics using and about language. Reminds me a lot of the modernist formal language experiments of Gertrude Stein or T.S Eliot or Samuel Beckett. But just like those works, while this one was intellectually interesting, it mostly left me cold. I can see how Notley was putting passion into some of her arguments around language and words and their importance, but the word to suss them out put me so into my head, that the emotional impact just washed right over me. I'm left impressed but mostly unmoved. **Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Jordan

    While listening to an interview with Grammy-award winning music producer John Congleton, I was struck by his admission that he assumes something is amiss with his own listening whenever he hears music he "doesn't like." He continues to listen until he discovers a means for appreciating the music he hears, thereby solving the problem he discovered within himself. That way he doesn't resort to describing the music as bad, but rather simply as music he wasn't ready to hear upon first listen. I was While listening to an interview with Grammy-award winning music producer John Congleton, I was struck by his admission that he assumes something is amiss with his own listening whenever he hears music he "doesn't like." He continues to listen until he discovers a means for appreciating the music he hears, thereby solving the problem he discovered within himself. That way he doesn't resort to describing the music as bad, but rather simply as music he wasn't ready to hear upon first listen. I was reminded of this approach while reading Alice Notley's new book, For the Ride. This book is not for me, but I don't intend that criticism to be interpreted in such a way that the inference is, "this is a bad book." Rather, I haven't learned yet to appreciate what the author has created here. Perhaps I'm too unfamiliar with this style of verse; maybe I read this volume in the wrong frame of mind; or it could be that I need a greater appreciation for Ms. Notley and her particular craft. My hope is that I can be forgiven for having no prior familiarity with Alice Notley before reading this book, but this was my first introduction to her work. About halfway through, I recognized the challenge I was having grasping this material satisfactorily, and I recall thinking that there was a good possibility this had been written by an extremely talented poet whose skills transcended my comprehension and appreciation level. The author bio at the end of the book revealed to me that suspicion was well-founded. I discovered that the vocabulary, syntax, and subject matter all eluded me somehow, and I am willing to take the blame for it. If this book was indeed written with a target demographic in mind, my own residence is located many miles off that map. As an example of a passage that left me scratching my head at its incomprehension, I share this: “Can the ones call each other poet as pronoun? “Poet are fair, are real” poet says The ones ‘re to poet, ial whatreflected ‘poet love ever it can upon by poet.’ Or, po- be called. no light but et are a jerk, Time’s un- of words in poet am bad. glued, it this grey this is a isn’t that city. Poets f o s that One (Poet) by h o r a glitters within n s n o t a r m k en morçeaux e i e r h n ‘ e ou cum spiri- c t ‘ m e d f s tu auditionis— e y. s hearing but s i e what vibrates? o f n s s e n tNot air as the ones have ever defined it, or space—What are poets, Why are ones alive? foot- of the loose dead? in the street Help Ones, Ether One’s not different from source of the words cast upon one like light.” Reading the above, I found myself hoping my electronic advance reader copy was faulty, somehow. While this is one of the more difficult passages for me, I found myself nearly as lost on all the other pages as well. Occasionally though, I would be pleasantly surprised with brief passages or lines that I liked: “But I was never born. I have always been. Exactly at the right time.” If Ms. Notley wrote this book with you in mind, you're probably going to love it. If you're a fan of her writing or familiar with her other work (unlike myself), you may find plenty here to enjoy and appreciate. Unfortunately, I haven't yet spent enough time with this to learn how to enjoy it properly. Thank you to Penguin Books and Netgalley.com for the electronic advance reader copy provided for this review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    Easily one of the more difficult things I've read lately, but Notley has always had a way of making that difficult really feel worth it. Not because she reaches grand epiphanies and imparts wisdom, but because while you work through the text and when that work is done, you are able to think yourself in new and different ways. Even if this is not my favorite of her works, it is work well done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heronfilter

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  9. 5 out of 5

    Salo Birra

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marije de Wit

  11. 4 out of 5

    evan

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tandi Bungalow

  13. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Thomas

  14. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tonia

  16. 4 out of 5

    Auzelle

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sraah

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dana

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mickslibrarian

  20. 5 out of 5

    Keeley

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ann Theis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Poetry Daily

  23. 4 out of 5

    J

  24. 5 out of 5

    sara

  25. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  26. 5 out of 5

    Margaryta

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kure

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Blancas

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

  30. 4 out of 5

    cori

  31. 4 out of 5

    loke

  32. 5 out of 5

    Juli Anna

  33. 4 out of 5

    Cat

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Baran

  35. 5 out of 5

    Thomas W. Koht

  36. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  37. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

  38. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Kircher

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  40. 5 out of 5

    Cordelia

  41. 5 out of 5

    Nora

  42. 4 out of 5

    Chellej J

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