Read Blackacre: Poems by Monica Youn Online

Title : Blackacre: Poems
Author :
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ISBN : 9781555977504
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 88 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Blackacre: Poems Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    2019-06-03 13:13

    This is a good example of concept poems that even if I understand the concept, I don't connect well with them. To me they just don't have a soul.Monica Youn has a background as a lawyer, and Blackacre is a fictional legal term for hypothetical land. The poems revolve around this idea and others. I felt like to really understand them I would have to dig deeper, but after reading each one twice, I didn't find I wanted to. It's just a preference thing. I did like the poem "Portrait of a Hanged Woman."I read this book of poetry because it was longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award.

  • Kathleen
    2019-05-23 09:36

    My review for the Chicago Tribune: nonlawyers are familiar with the custom of using the names "John Doe" or "Jane Doe" to signify an anonymous party, usually the plaintiff, in a legal action. Fewer people outside the legal profession are aware of the related use of the term "Blackacre" as a placeholder in cases and discussions pertaining to the rights of various parties to a piece of land.Monica Youn uses the latter to great effect as the title of her third poetry collection, "Blackacre." In this precise, taut, and philosophical hybrid, she examines highly conceptual realms through imagery and syntax that seem magical in their ability to make the abstract concrete in much the same way that these fictitious people and properties do in legal matters.Other hypothetical estates that might crop up in such cases include Whiteacre, Greenacre, Brownacre, Redacre and Blueacre, and throughout the brilliant central and final sequences of this stunning collection, Youn employs these words, with their obvious poetic as well as legal implications, to explore, among other things, the answer to the question, "But what if a given surface is coaxed into fruitfulness wrongfully?"Youn is the author of two previous collections, "Barter" and "Ignatz," which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is also a former lawyer who currently teaches writing at Princeton University and in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College. Here, she draws on her background in law to make leaps into the fields of family, fertility, art, shame, fear and hope.The book opens with a poem called "Palinode," a piece in which the poet retracts a view or sentiment expressed in a previous poem. It reads in its entirety,I was wrongplease I waswrong please Iwanted nothing pleaseI don't want.And Youn does look hard at desire: how it arises, how it is satisfied, and how it recurs.The desire — and struggle — to have a child, especially, weave in and out of the collection's four sections. In fact, the second section begins with a prose poem called "Desideratum," meaning something that is needed or wanted. Youn fills the subsequent pieces with nature motifs that speak not only to botanical life, but also to the speaker's urge to reproduce herself: "a seed falls // from a bird's / unappeasable body. // A little twirl of air / guides them down the trunk // as if down a glass staircase // (not to a room) / to a landing, // a crevice, / (not a cradle)."Each poem feels urgent thanks to the tension created by language that is austere yet unsparing, and rhetoric that is restrained yet deeply emotional, as when she writes in "Lamentation of the Hanged Man": "I am always turning // in the same / idiot arcs, // always facing / the horizon's white- // lipped sneer." Her intelligence feels extensive and inviting, particularly thanks to the sources from which she draws her epigraphs, ranging from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's "A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia" to a report on Twinkies.In a thoughtful piece about the sequence for the Poetry Foundation, Youn writes, "I think of each '____acre' as a landscape, a legacy — the allotment each of us is given to work with, whether that allotment is a place, a span of time, a work of art, a body, a destiny. … What are the limits of the imagination's ability to transform what is given?"Her imagination proves itself immensely transformative, recounting her considerations and reconsiderations, as when she writes, unexpectedly but aptly comparing her speaker's experiences of barrenness to John Milton's experiences of blindness, "My mistake was similar. I came to consider my body — its tug-of-war of tautnesses and slacknesses — to be entirely my own, an appliance for generating various textures and temperatures of friction."Aside from Wallace Stevens, who graduated from New York Law School in 1903 and went on to work as an executive for the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, and a handful of other examples, such as Reginald Dwayne Betts, there's not a strong association between poets and the law. Youn's Blackacre stands as a gorgeous and intellectually scintillating addition to this esoteric and necessary tradition.

  • Ellie
    2019-05-27 13:34

    Blackacres are the legal stand-ins for land that is, for example, being bequeathed. It is the land equivalent of John or Jane Doe. In this volume, the land stands in for images of love and loss and what we can, cannot, or perhaps expect from life.The first section of this volume is modeled on Francois Villon's Ballad of the Hanged. It is vivid, disconcerting, haunting, and beautiful.This is a work that definitely cries out to be read again and again. I'm already on my second reading and discovering so much more than I gleaned from my first reading. The poems are dense and lovely.

  • Ken
    2019-06-05 08:25

    Some high-faluntin' stuff, including multiple takes on a John Milton sonnet. If Milton's over my head, riffs on Milton have to hold some altitude as well. Also a collection of poems dealing with color. Blackacre, Whiteacre, Redacre, Blueacre, One fish, two fish, well-read (she teaches at Princeton) fish, blue fish. It so happens I liked "Greenacre" best. And no, nothing to do with Zsa-Zsa Gabor. Just a boy and a girl in a greenish pond up to God knows what. Youn has an impressive vocabulary. Of course impressive vocabularies, thick as thieves in poems, cut both ways if you can't grasp what in hell's going on. Still, there were moments. There were turns of phrase. And I kept going.So mixed blessings here, and a challenge for any academic sorts who like a little Ivy League grad school with their morning poetry.

  • Erica Wright
    2019-06-09 10:28

    Youn gives us high stakes poems, weaving through law and lawlessness. She presents the highs and lows of so-called civilization, never flinching.Postcard review:

  • Chris Roberts
    2019-05-28 16:26

    The great sycamore among the great stand of like trees sways in the wind and I am driven pell-mell through these woods and am flung into a creek bed and deposited so in New York’s wild brooding land and it is dry and I lie unmoving and staring at the flat sky that beautifully disguises itself in its broad ever spreading conspiratorial way and I am absent at the present moment to heap further adjectives...Wait.Place is a concrete thing, slippery for blood, nothing more.Chris Roberts, Ascendent

  • Dc
    2019-06-08 14:40

    i had to read each poem 2 or 3 times to get cultivated enough to begin to understand them. youn is now an adjective for me. a synonym might be "full of light" or "mega" or, even, "untouchable."

  • Kelly
    2019-06-18 16:37

    I'm pretty much the target demographic for this poetry collection, particularly the Blackacre movement, and more than enjoying it or appreciating it, I needed it.

  • Jez
    2019-06-18 15:18

    As an Asian-American law student, who thought of applying to an MFA program before law school (but was talked out of it by my mentor), I wanted to like this collection. But I trudged through it, reading most of the pieces a dozen times. With the title Blackacre and Youn's profession as a lawyer, I was expecting a collection of poetry based on legalese and court decisions similar to She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks or Zong!, both authored by former lawyer and poet M. NourbeSe Philip. However, some of Youn's poems spoke in too large abstractions, never defining metaphors. I also agree with other reviewers that a quite of few of her indented enjambments and caesuras are nonsensical and are solely for aesthetics. But the majority of her prose is successful, where she provides more description than her poems with stanzas.

  • Lisa
    2019-06-05 12:35

    I loved this collection. The poems were so varied and worked for me in a lot of different ways - subject matter, pure auditory enjoyment, visual appeasement. I certainly wasn't familiar with many of the literary references but that didn't hinder my enjoyment.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-03 15:18

    This is the kind of poetry that makes me think I don't like poetry. It is verbose to the point that it becomes unreadable.

  • marcia
    2019-06-20 08:28

    It's just not for me

  • Miranda Tsang
    2019-05-29 09:33


  • Andrew
    2019-05-27 13:38

    The ending sequence, riffing on Milton's blindness sonnet, is astonishing, but the middle section felt more diffuse, perhaps not totally finished.

  • Leonard
    2019-06-18 09:41

    A diverse collection of unusual poetry. Intriguing.

  • Andrew
    2019-06-10 13:19

    (3.5 stars)

  • Lisa
    2019-05-31 08:35

    Poetry reads differently than prose. The time to digest each stanza can be significant. In this collection, I had to struggle between the need to move to the next part of the poem and the need to work through a given section/part. I ended up engaged in a kind of gallery dance with the work. A true delight.

  • Caleb
    2019-06-10 16:26

    This was a short, mostly enjoyable read. Youn uses odd formal demarcations. Why are the lines broken as such? Why are there commas here, but not there? The only reasons I could surmise were visual, not reliant on the text. I'm sure I misunderstand Youn's methods, but they are not so clear as to be easily discerned and don't seem to contribute to the interpretation of the text, so I wonder why such choices were made.That being said, Youn certainly has a way with words. Sharp observations are made. Etymology is directed in interesting ways. The very concept of this collection is a word found in 17th century legalese. This was certainly a pleasant read, but lacked a collective message or spirit of appropriate strength to earn a court

  • Joshua Hair
    2019-06-02 15:16

    By the laws of Goodreads and Miss Monica Youn, I must inform you that this was a Goodreads win. Formalities out of the way, I would have bought Blackacre on my own had I known the talent between its pages. Blackacre is everything you want in poetry: it is eloquent, maddening, and summarily satisfying. Clearly, Miss Youn knows how to handle the written word. Of course, I'd expect no less from a Princeton professor with three published collections of poetry. I must admit, this is the first time I've had to contend with legal jargon in poetry, and yet Miss Youn treats it with grace and elegance. That, my friends, is the sign of a great poet. To be able to tackle any situation, any object, from the most mundane of household tools to the confusion of the court system, and make it something beautiful; that is what we have here in Blackacre. Thank you, ma'am, for the opportunity to review this splendid collection. I have high hopes of getting my hands on the rest of your work in the near future.

  • Patti K
    2019-06-09 15:33

    The third volume of poetry by Youn who writes a complicated yet spareinvestigation into landscape and belonging or not, desires for fertilityagainst barrenness. Prose poems, list poems with numbered lines, sparsewords on the white field--all to haunt and make bleak the mood. Asophisticated collection of wild, bold and experimental poems. A challenge.

  • Jonathan Palmer
    2019-06-18 14:24

    In this spellbinding collection of poems, Youn elliptically paints pictures of defiance of the patriarchy, in the face of amoral societal decay, and a fierce embracing of the immutable laws of nature. Birth, lynching, personal property, rape, agency over one's own body and in society are all alluded to in this beautifully written book. It reads like a mission statement against the establishment. A call to question the lies we are told, have been told for eons. Poetry serves as a window to greater truths. Young, herself a former attorney, prosecutes this case to stunning effect with the highest of artistry.

  • Kyle Williams
    2019-06-13 13:32

    Wasn't convinced.

  • Megan
    2019-05-29 11:31

    I heard about this volume on NPR this fall, but there weren't any copies available through my library system. A couple of the poems evoked powerful images, but many of them seemed either too vague or too clever. For example: one poem dealt explicitly with sounds associated with the final scene of an Antonioni film. That's cool, and there's certainly a place for that somewhere - but it didn't feel very accessible to me (I've only seen a few of his films, and the movie mentioned in the poem was not one of them). Overall, I would try another volume of poetry by Youn in the future.

  • Kararaylewis
    2019-05-31 14:34

    I was absolutely stunned by Youn's chapbook Ignatz just a few months ago... this book feels soulless and didactic in comparison. One of my favorite aspects of Youn's earlier works has been her range and the variation in her voice, whereas this book seems to feature the same speaker and stale, technical diction throughout. Maybe it's just not my type of book, but here, Youn seems to revert fully to lawyer and forget poet.

  • Troy Kozak
    2019-06-13 12:12

    I love the arrangement of the poems here. The first set, all portraits of the hanged, are cerebral and beautiful. The second set, all acres, are purely enjoyable. She even had a poem about twinkies. The last set, all commentaries in a sonnet, have an analytical and emotional appeal. I look forward to going back to some of these for further appreciation.

  • Anna
    2019-06-08 08:41

    Some sections of this book sing more than others for me - I preferred the first one, which had a Salem-like feel, old-fashioned and gnarled, wild and fierce. There is no real way to describe Blackacre - it's a book of poems that feels as if they shouldn't be all connected, but they somehow are. Interesting premise, an execution that didn't always hook me.

  • Seyed
    2019-06-02 10:41

    Innovative in structure and form. Highly intellectual. Some very dark and fascinating imagery (particularly around the hangman's tree). A bit of an empty vessel though, a fine edifice but what did it say that was true or to the heart?

  • Chy
    2019-05-22 13:18

    I won this book in a Goodreads give away and I loved it. It's beautifully scripted, a lot of critical thinking, and emotionally deep. I also suggest google-ing the italics; viewing the art and reading the poem at the same time is the best full effect.

  • secondwomn
    2019-05-20 16:12


  • Paul
    2019-06-19 09:19

    Review at asianamlitfans.