Back to Results
Cover image of Signs & Wonders
Cover image of Signs & Wonders
Share this Title:

Signs & Wonders

poems by Charles Martin

Publication Date
Binding Type

Winner of the CNY Book Award in Poetry of the YMCA of Greater Syracuse

Signs is a noun (as in DO NOT DISTURB);
Wonders (as in "with furrowed brows"), a verb.

The couplet that leads into Charles Martin's fifth collection of richly inventive poems suggests that the world is to be read into and wondered over. The signs in this new work from the prize-winning American poet of formal brilliance and darkly comic sensibility are as stark as the one on a cage at the zoo that says ENDANGERED SPECIES, as surprising as those that announce the return of irony, and as enigmatic as a single word carved on a...

Winner of the CNY Book Award in Poetry of the YMCA of Greater Syracuse

Signs is a noun (as in DO NOT DISTURB);
Wonders (as in "with furrowed brows"), a verb.

The couplet that leads into Charles Martin's fifth collection of richly inventive poems suggests that the world is to be read into and wondered over. The signs in this new work from the prize-winning American poet of formal brilliance and darkly comic sensibility are as stark as the one on a cage at the zoo that says ENDANGERED SPECIES, as surprising as those that announce the return of irony, and as enigmatic as a single word carved on a tombstone. Renowned for his translations of Ovid's Metamorphoses and the poems of Catullus, Martin brings the perspective of history to bear on the stuff of contemporary life.

Reviews

Reviews

'After 9/11' is alone worth the price of the book and will repay many readings, but all the poems share important virtues. They’re sonically pleasing and rich in allusion, but they’re also direct. Here there are no cryptic, difficult poems on the attack. Nothing here is pointless, and much is beautiful. All works toward a fruitful clarity and invites us to think hard about what bones we and Martin have built on.

If you need to be reminded, or to discover, why Martin is considered a master, pick up your own copy of Signs & Wonders.

As Signs & Wonders demonstrates so triumphantly, you'd have a hard time to find better contemporary poems than Charles Martin's. I can only be grateful for 'Ovid to His Book,' 'Support,' 'Poem for the Millennium,' 'Near Jeffrey's Hook,' 'After 9/11,' 'Poison,' and many more. Martin does not merely write well-made, shapely poems; he charges them with energy. I'm placing my bet that they will last.

Charles Martin's new book, Signs & Wonders, is elegant and powerful. Past and present commingle as he writes poems of contemporary life in traditional form, and with a remarkable range: 'Poem for the Millennium' in accentual verse, and one of the best 9/11 poems we have in terza rima. Taking his cue from Catullus and Ovid, whose work he has brilliantly translated, Martin creates his own new vision of the world in language of praise with an underlying tone of combined horror and awe.

Like an expert cellist in full control of phrasing and intonation, he can make a line of metrical verse sonorous or playful, tenebrous or scintillating, elegiac or mercurial.

See All Reviews
About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
96
ISBN
9780801899744
Table of Contents

Directions for Assembly
I. The Life in Letters
The Flower Thief
Souvenir
Some Kind of Happiness
The Sacred Monsters
Words to Utter at Nightfall
Mind in the Trees
Autopsychography
Support
East Side, West Side
1

Directions for Assembly
I. The Life in Letters
The Flower Thief
Souvenir
Some Kind of Happiness
The Sacred Monsters
Words to Utter at Nightfall
Mind in the Trees
Autopsychography
Support
East Side, West Side
1. Vermeer at the Frick: His Mistress and Maid
2. John Koch at the New-York Historical Society: The Party
To Himself
Brooklyn in the Seventies
This Organizing Solitude
This Organizing Solitude
Theory Victorious
II. Some Romans
On a Roman Perfume Bottle
Ava Pacis
Ovid to His Book
Three Sonnets from the Romanesco of G.G. Belli
1. The Good Soldiers
2. The Spaniard
3. The Coffee House Philosopher
III. Near Jeffrey's Hook
The Twentieth Century in Photographs
Poem for the Millennium
Who Knows What's Best?
Getting Carded
For the End of the Age of Irony
Near Jeffrey's Hook
Foreboding
After 9/11
After Wang Wei
Poison
Acknowledgments

Author Bio
Charles Martin
Featured Contributor

Charles Martin

Charles Martin is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of seven books of poetry, most recently Future Perfect. His verse translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses received the 2004 Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets.