Assembling the Shepherd
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Assembling the Shepherd


Title Details

Pages: 80

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 12/02/1999

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2168-4

List Price: $20.95

Related Subjects

POETRY / American / General

Assembling the Shepherd


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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Awards

Driven by an endless matrix of poetic forms, the poems of Assembling the Shepherd create a world where allusions to Plato and the Dead Sea scrolls intermingle with car culture and terrorism, where modern skylines are framed within the history of alchemy and architecture. Tessa Rumsey uses words in ways that defy summary and synonym in poetry that challenges the boundaries of common dualities—city and desert, heaven and earth, waking and dreaming, violence and harmony, destruction and regeneration, recollecting and forecasting. She attempts to move beyond these natural contrasts in her poetry, and beyond point of view to create a collection that offers an elemental glimpse of the fragmented yet interconnected world we live in.

Throughout the book, familiar themes are seen again and again, undergoing subtle metamorphosis: the seasonal solstice, the sundial, the planets, the Sphinx—as Rumsey invites us beneath the surface of her words.

Rumsey has a nervy, energetic intelligence that makes Assembling the Shepherd a keen, sustained pleasure.

—Forrest Gander

A compelling critique of culture and politics, a dazzling experiment in free verse form, and a dizzying, surreal representation of the voice of the mind.

—Jane Miller

Heady, ravishing, and unsettling; sound of a strange new time.

Poetry Flash

Working through Tessa Rumsey's Assembling the Shepherd becomes much like analyzing any Coltrane solo. Taken as a whole, the creative output seems euphoric, nearly religious, but once inside the structural framework, one finds endlessly complicated patterns and ordered repetitions which give indication of a divining mind at work.



Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, Poetry Society of America

About the Author/Editor

TESSA RUMSEY studied philosophy at Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, the New Republic, and many other magazines. She lives in San Francisco.