The Children, Paula Bohince
The Children examines the ache and balm of nostalgia; nature’s cycles of brideliness, decay, and rebirth; and the beauty that is the afterimage of loss. Isolation is embodied by such figures as Melville at his desk, Christ on the morning of His arrest, Woolf walking into the Ouse, and a lynching victim as viewed by child witnesses. Contemporary questions of selfhood and solitude are explored with luminous depth. In a landscape of dogwood and locust, The Children offers us life twice seen, sorrowful and sumptuous.
Paula Bohince grew up in rural Pennsylvania. Her first collection, Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods, was published in 2008 by Sarabande Books and received its inaugural Aleda Shirley Prize. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry London, and The Yale Review. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Amy Clampitt Trust, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as the “Discovery”/The Nation Award and the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship. She lives in Pennsylvania and is the 2012 Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place.
Praise for The Children:
"Bohince is a poet of fragments — not the scraps of history and literature that Eliot shored against his ruins, but ordinary sentence fragments. “April Blizzard” begins, “Over humiliated fields, the blossoming / dogwood, stopped stalks / of daffodils, frills frozen, chagrin over everything . . .” The nouns pile up like snow while the reader waits for a verb that will never arrive. There’s movement in Bohince’s poems, but it’s gradual and subtle — an eye passing like Ken Burns’s camera over a still image, discovering new details."
—The New York Times Book Review
"The lines in Paula Bohince’s collection of poems sound out the rich ambivalence in the poet’s vision, where the homeless owl can be “moonstruck” and the natural world feigns innocence. The book throughout gives us a look at poetry’s real charm—glints of beauty, the hard truth, and a unique sense of how these elements reconcile. In every good sense the poems avoid art’s perfections. They tilt. They tilt and create their own gravity. An excellent collection."
"Another writer with Paula Bohince's gift for the ravishing image—and such writers are very few—would have us on our guard. We are wary of beauty; we have seen too often what beauty leaves out. But Bohince, in her magical capture of the material world, scorns all euphemizing edits; “the condom listing against milk-/weed” is registered as scrupulously in these pages as are the combs of the abandoned hive. Which makes these poems transformative in the true and difficult sense: they bestow on the world the blessing of having-been-seen. And beauty too: “Something to recall / as beautiful, in the future. As the sewer was / in summer. Little childhood river.”
"Like Elizabeth Bishop before her, Paula Bohince is a visionary poet of the subtlest kind. “Any / place lacking emotion is called natural,” she suggests, and her poems, like Bishop’s, seem most natural when they are in fact most fantastic, most deeply felt. The acuity of Bohince’s observations is not only matched but fueled by imaginative fervor, and, as a result, nothing in these quietly uncanny poems is merely natural. They are as ravaged as they are composed. They are ravaged because they are composed. The Children is a beautiful, challenging book."