The Lightning Field

In her third collection, Carol Moldaw explores new territory in poems that are thematically far-reaching and technically superb. The book, which won the 2002 FIELD Poetry Prize, includes three long sequences based on art and artifact in various stages of completeness: preliminary pen-and-ink studies, Turkish ruins, and, at the center, Walter De Maria’s site-specific art installation that gives the book its title and impetus.

Formal constraints, or formal experiments, can be a great diversion for the conscious mind and can therefore release unconscious material and connections.” Carol Moldaw interviewed in Lemon Hound, October 2008

Attracting charged material as De Maria’s Lightning Field attracts lightning, the poems reference narrative but move beneath and beyond it through a restless and rewarding insistence on making and remaking, on seeing by degrees and seeing whole.

“In Carol Moldaw’s precise, objective poems, a Parnassian art is reborn. These poems keep a remarkable balance between inner and outer worlds, between dream-life and stern logic. They are works of art. “Rosanna Warren

Carol Moldaw doesn’t just pen the surface, but assiduously scrapes the interior to get to the long-playing music wrapped around a root. Line by line, the intricate simplicities are invoked to light a face, to stop the rain. The Lightning Field, in its discrete lyrics and sustained sequences, is this surgically charged.” C.D. Wright

This is Moldaw’s true strength to draw and sketch her poetry at all the angles, Vs, bends, diagonals, lines, marks of and in our world.” Eric P. Elshtain, Chicago Review

She courts revelation . . . in a voice variously curious, passionate, surprised, meditative, and sensual. On the surface of her work are rich sounds and variations of rhythm and line. A few steps deeper in lie wells of feeling and complexities of thought.” Frieda Gardner, The Women’s Review of Books

Fierce exactitude . . . intimacy is always just a phrase or two away . . . as if she is describing her world to the blind.” Arielle Greenberg, Rain Taxi

Related Media

Article: Jon Davis, Then. And Since Then, Santa Fe Reporter, April 15, 2014

Article: Carol Moldaw reads Gjertrud Schnackenberg, Lemonhound, Oct 17, 2008