Out of the Woods

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Out of the Woods
Thomas Bolt's Out of the Woods, the winning volume in the 1988 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition, was selected from among 625 entries in this annual competition. The author describes his poetry in the following way: "Like any poems, these are attempts to make ideas and feelings tangible. They follow a metaphorical landscape-of variously social, historical, emotional, and individual situations-as if it were a real landscape. While the poems have, as a kind of face value, a more or less literal and concrete surface, the most important thing for a reader to know about them is that they are neither observed nor remembered but made up-and consequently every detail has purpose. The description exists, not for its own sake, but as the method of metaphor. Nature in these poems is never a setting. "The metaphors are specific but given a life of their own somewhere off to the side, like a building just outside the frame of exposure which casts its shadow through a photograph. In a poem like '1971 Pontiac LeMans, ' whether the reader sees only a car, or the car as a figure for the human body, or car-and-body as vehicle and manifestation of autonomy, the effect should be about the same. These poems are built for definite meanings but do not insist on a direct or uniform apprehension of them. Sometimes the best, first, effect is oblique and immediate." Thomas Bolt was born in Washington, D.C., in 1959 and grew up in Washington and Virginia. A graduate of Glaydin School near Leesburg, Virginia, Bolt received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1982. That same year, Bolt's poems and etchings were published in a limited edition volume titled Land, which has been acquired by several rare book collections in the United States. His etchings were commissioned as posters for the first four PEN/Faulkner Awards for Fiction. He now lives in New York City, where he writes art criticism.
Publication Date: 
September 10, 1989