When Carol Snow published her first volume of poetry, Artist and Model, in 1989, poet Michael Palmer praised the "complex music [Snow] forms from our simplest words" and noted that she "reflects on the struggle toward--and limits of--representation itself. . . . Artist and Model is a first book of singular poetic intelligence and attention."
In For, the first volume in the New California Poetry series, Snow continues her vast and original poetic project of defining the relationship among art, life, and the acts of perception that define and limit those terms. If there is "subject matter" --an elusive term when one is talking about Snow's writing--it is the play between memory and moment.
Here is work that makes innovative use of autobiographical material, in finely wrought and highly sculpted poetry of great integrity, power, and subtlety. The kinship For has with Eastern thought and poetic forms extends to the fact that, like the poetry of Tu Fu, it has a depth charge of spare style. Among American writers, Snow's antecedents include Elizabeth Bishop and George Oppen.
For synthesizes something classical and ancient--the need to observe cleanly and to represent a thing simply and with force. Snow forges new and remarkable poetry by combining traditions that once seemed incompatible--the materials of life and a purely aesthetic, experimental style.
Carol Snow's Artist and Model won the 1990 Book Award from the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and lives in San Francisco.
Praise for Carol Snow's work:
"Many feminist thinkers and artists have tried in the last decade to understand the relation between gender and language, language and violence, violence and art. [Carol Snow] frames these issues at the roots of perception. . . . This is a work of difficult beauty."—Robert Hass, University of California, Berkeley, and former Poet Laureate of the United States
"[Carol Snow] teaches us, among other things, how fiercely syntax can be used as an instrument for self-scrutiny, and how brutally self-transforming a verbal action can be when undertaken in good faith. For although it is the relationship between aesthetics and politics which is most apparent in this work, it is the sustained and almost desperate personal honesty . . . which surprises and moves me."—Jorie Graham, University of Iowa
"Not only perception informs the poems, but a conceptual daring capable of posing sunlight as wind or gratitude as the condition of things. . . . An elegiac and at times erotizing regard for the ‘complexity / of resemblances’ and for what resemblance leaves unstated, untouched, makes Artist and Model . . . a deeply affecting book."—Nathaniel Mackey, University of California, Santa Cruz