That Blue Repair Cover

Joan Landis’s intricate verbal latticework both reveals and transforms the grave and beautiful human dramas that obsess her imagination. Reading her poems one sees again and again experiences we all have, and are all baffled by, justified and made sonorous by perfected contemplation.

—Vijay Seshadri

That Blue Repair carries us “backwards on the morning train,” a phrase that describes both Landis’s chronicling of the quotidian world and the way she presents the past in rapidly shifting scenes. Landis is an equally astute observer of the literary world, and the pleasures these poems afford stem in part from the way she interweaves life with reading, as in the poem “Approaching Seventy”: “Undoing the leash, I say to the dog, / ‘Such sad Mercredis.’ / Is that my phrase, or Ashbery’s?”

—Jessica Fisher

That Blue Repair

By Joan Hutton Landis

ISBN 0-9669177-5-8, 978-0-9669177-5-8, 90 pp, 2008, $18.00

One of the many pleasures of this book is “Sunday Lesson,” with its seemingly casual marshalling of impressions and its ever stronger intimations of mortality. I also relish the successful use of Emily Dickinson’s tone and technique in “Amherst: June 1873.” And “Love Poem with Grackles” is simply delightful. I could go on with specific praises, but let me say of That Blue Repair as a whole that it is remarkable for wit, charm, and intelligence, and that its formal pleasures seem a natural accompaniment of those qualities.

—Richard Wilbur

Over the years Landis’s poems have been published in numerous journals, yet amazingly this is her first published book. The collection is notable as it covers the poet’s lifetime in a single volume. Her remarkable intelligence, wit, and artistry resonate an uncanny wisdom that crosses the generational divide. In the words of Peg Boyers, Executive Editor at Salmagundi, “Joan Landis regards the past much as she regards everything else, with candor and a fierce determination to see without apology or bitterness. Often, she finds the way to the past is obstructed, the perspective unreliable, the probable facts unwanted, the desire to deny or revise almost irresistible. Yet she persists, keeps her eyes open, acknowledges shame or disgust while pressing on with the insistent business of getting to the bottom of her experience. . . . Perhaps the most startling manifestation of Joan Landis’s literariness is her virtuosity with rhyme, a gift employed as a strategy for conferring unity and shape on the disparate material of which poems–and lives–are made.”

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