Mead: An Epithalamion (University of Georgia Press) | 2004
Winner of the University of Georgia Press’s Contemporary Poetry Series
The central subject in Julie Carr’s debut poem collection is marriage. Intimacy is examined, not only in terms of the erotic, the quotidian, and the contractual, but also in terms of the intertextual: the pact between reader and writer and the blending of texts that results. Motherhood also figures as a kind of marriage-a bond that includes affective, legal, and sensual elements.
Using a variety of poetic structures—prose poems, stanzaic forms, concrete poems, fractured lyrics, direct dialogue, and discursive modes—Carr simultaneously embraces and breaks from the expected and the known, revealing the precarious balance between our desire for narrative, sequence, drama, and resolution, on the one hand, and rupture, fragment, and fracturing, on the other.
"With 'face upon face rising out of the,' Julie Carr's stunning book-length epithalamion cracks open marriage and motherhood as if they were geodes, exposing the dazzle within, 'a spark / in the draft of the burning.' Its fierce lyricism both fractures and binds together, so that the outside and the inside take hands. This is a song well worth hearing again and again: 'Now all ring you ah.'"
"Carr illuminates the marriage of the inner and outer worlds, often taking detours from sense and always taking them to interesting places, always landing somewhere deeply felt."
"The leg, a segment only, spins like a moral or a flame. Julie Carr conducts poetic form as if it were choreography in her “verse novel” MEAD An Epithalamion, winner of the University of Georgia Press’s Contemporary Poetry Series. Selected by Cole Swensen, who might be described as a sculptor with language, Carr’s book has the texture of clay, as bodies of words reappear in different shapes. At the same time, it radiates with a clean beauty in the way that words group and regroup, creating alterations in syntax, as members of a dance troupe use their bodies to gesture. These words-as-dancers pair off in different combinations to explore the edges of things, formally and thematically.
Carr posits three readers: one favors the end, reads for the solution; one rereads the beginning, never to arrive; and one is entranced with the middle, bathes in water unbound, unbroken. I posit the existence of all three simultaneously in the reader of MEAD."