In Medias Res
publication date: 2004/10/01
trim: 9 x 6
price (cloth): $20.95
price (paper): $13.95
ISBN 13 (cloth): 978-1-932511-06-2
ISBN 13 (paper): 978-1-932511-07-9
A ACAJOU West Indian tree varying from flesh to auburn. Hard tropical wood of the mahogany family.
APRICOT One morning, the day room is too much. Too much glare from the light. She opens a letter from her mother.
ASTERISM A first bicycle, her father folding a paper airplane, her mother's history books, asking, how long did it take you to write a hundred pages, the sapphire star hiding inside my heart, asterism, the widening and questioning look of the blind woman when I say, it's over there; now it's gone.
ALTIMETER A box of breath. The thin walls of the box are pushed in as the air presses from the outside. A part of the ear, I believe, behaves this way. I believe it's the tympanum, or a drum. It may be useful in flight.
ANTIQUE A brandy decanter in the day room, four feet tall, amber, very still, and still very beautiful. It's in the shape of a woman, a caryatid. Standing is her vocation. Her long hair, her face, her feet, her long hands. The old couple had never tasted the brandy for all the years she stood quietly corinthian in a corner of the day room.
A BASIL OR BASALT OCEAN Sounds like slate or bay salt.
BREAKFRONT The center is deeper than the sides. Doors above and wooden doors or drawers below. Triple bookcase or china closet.
BIRTH The wind bloweth where it listeth....
BOXES MADE OF PAPER The eclipse is happening on paper. Paper shelter, a sliver, scissors. Look at the image of the sun, not directly at it.
BACHELOR CHEST With a folding top or shelf for writing.
A BOX OF WINE A box or bag of wine with a spigot.
BATT Cotton for filling mattresses and for upholstering.
BREAD IN A BOX Not cassava, the rich root used instead of flour. This mix comes out of a box. Prepare with your hands. It's rough, like corn meal, says the blind woman. A little bit goes a long way. I'm not sure whether this flour contains ground lime. No weevils will appear in this, nor weavers who shuttle inside the bread bag.
Winner of the 2003 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry Selected by Heather McHugh Winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award from Poetry Society of America, selected by Cole Swenson
"Karen Lee's In Medias Res is an étude on blindness and enlightenment....Its taxonomic daring is vintage Stein....Lee's strange and gemological arrangements [are] the measure of her gift: the book as a whole seeks to find words for a woman's loss of her sight, and the human capacity to make sense of the patterns and accidents of life....Best of all, Lee has a fine paronomastic flair. She highlights but does not belabor the affinities between words....Where others might find 'blind fortune,' Lee finds 'unseen wealth.'"
—From the Introduction by Heather McHugh