Anne Pitkin


Praise for Winter Arguments

“In this strong follow-up to her earlier collection Yellow, Seattle poet Anne Pitkin effortlessly ranges from etudes based on art, music, and fairy tales to deceptively domestic narrative poems of mother and daughter, wife and husband. Winter Arguments showcases Pitkin’s strength in parrying the two-edged sword of memory. A poem that at first reading may seem nostalgia mixed with regret reveals itself to be shot through with searing instants of hope and not a little subtle-wit. In their imagistic tableaux, these mature poems’ lucent language and imagery reveal in their turning facets the poet and our world.

Pitkin, who possesses that crucial ability to first perceive and then beautifully convey the simple scene that evokes a revelation, excels at capturing the air of something waiting to happen, the energy inherent in a still life, and that which by its ordinariness implies the marvelous:

‘a crow lopes from curbside to parking lot
a chunk of ordinary bread in its beak.'”

—Sean Bentley

“Anne Pitkin’s poems have such lyrical sweep, such a sensitive eye for the natural world as it touches the human, that reading Winter Arguments is like seeing a landscape or, better, a richly realized painting of a landscape dotted with figures. But that would leave out their music, which would be a loss. This is a wise and graceful book by a well-traveled woman who knows how to confront deep feeling and frame it to make it all the more intense.”
—Rosellen Brown

“With a rich and succinct lyrical voice, at times bordering on the mystical, she creates a world achingly charged with the passage of time.

“I was not alone and the meadow was not empty.
The stone outlasted the disappearing birds,
outlasted me as I waited for you.”

Her details are fresh and precise —

“[a spider] weaves her web into our larger orb
careening along its tracks, while yards away
the ocean falls apart and falls apart”

— her poetry unfolds with a sweet, earned optimism.

“The pas de deux had ended
and no one died after all.”

– Open Books

“When I try to imagine life without poems that matter, it’s the presence of books like Anne Pitkin’s Winter Arguments that make it impossible. Here is a poet who knows the difference between sentimentality and sentiment, and who is unafraid of strong emotion. Recognizing herself as someone ‘always looking for signs,’ she is a ruthless observer of the luminous details and circumstances of the world, but never detail for detail’s sake alone. Though her poems owe much to musicians, painters, sculptors and writers, Pitkin does not so much borrow wisdom and insight as she exposes it. ‘What recompense is art,’ she wonders. This book answers that question.”
—Samuel Green