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Tropic of Squalor: Poems
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Tropic of Squalor: Poems

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
A new volume of poetry from the New York Times bestselling and esteemed author of The Liar’s Club and Lit.

Long before she earned accolades for her genre-defining memoirs, Mary Karr was winning poetry prizes. Now the beloved author returns with a collection of bracing poems as visceral and deeply felt and hilarious as her memoirs. In Tropic of Squalor, Karr dares to address
ebook, 96 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Harper
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Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read and loved Mary Karr’s memoirs: “Lit” and “The Liar’s Club,” but I had not previously read any of her poetry. In her new collection “Tropic of Squalor,” I felt as though I was reading a different author - both in character and tone. There were some poems and lines within poems that were thought-provoking and really resonated with me. However, on the whole this collection was too dark and bleak for this reader. Maybe I would have liked the poems more if I were in a different frame of mind. ...more
Rebecca Foster
Mary Karr is mostly known as a memoirist, but this is actually her fifth poetry collection. Death is a major theme, with David Foster Wallace’s suicide (“Among genii, whoever dies first wins. / Or so he thought.”) and 9/11 getting multiple mentions. Karr also writes self-deprecatingly about her Texas childhood (“my kidhood (whose torments / Did fill many profitable volumes)”; “Whole years I lost in the kingdom / Of mine own skull”).

Best of all is the multi-part “The Less Holy Bible”: a sort of D
Diane S ☔
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 review soon.
Marne Wilson
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, and I am definitely not the right reader for it. Karr deals with some dark subject matter here, and her coping strategy is a thick layer of cynicism. For example, take these lines from "The Age of Criticism," where she describes the suicide of a fellow poet: "I believed there might be no one more alluring alive./ But she killed herself. Last April, widowed at sixty,/ she jumped off the high stadium of some snotty college/ where she taught, and whether she ...more
L K Simonds
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
What can I say? This is classic Mary Karr: No holds barred poems about life in the Tropic of Squalor, that is, under the curse. Ms. Karr's observations are poignant and almost always have a comic element, even if it's dark. The poems are full of familiar themes for those who've read her memoirs. I don't read a lot of poetry, and my taste runs toward poets like Frost and Yeats and Dickinson, but I keep trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to expand my horizons. My favorite poetry of Karr's are the lyri ...more
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Tropic of Squalor” ranges in subject from the personal to the political. Many of the poems have an autobiographical voice, and an early poem, “Illiterate Progenitor,” speaks to life with a father “undiluted by the written word.” This poem inspired me to write about my own family.

And although Karr never mentions political figures by name, astute readers will understand the subtext. As with her memoir “The Liar’s Club,” Karr infuses some poems with a fair amount of “crazy.”

Karr has structured t
Autumn Kovach
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I don't read poetry often but I first encountered Mary on an On Being podcast, which I've listened to multiple times. I've read her memoir and then saw her live at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn. She read poetry aloud from this book and spoke about her inspirations. She is hilarious and so real. I especially love the ones of NY and her experience in the city -- articulated so well.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Karr is getting better with age. This is so good.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Love to read poetry! I received my copy in a giveaway here on Goodreads!! Thank you Goodreads and Mary Karr!!!
Sara Habein
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
So much good stuff in here. Sad, thoughtful, reverent, maybe sometimes a little too on the nose, but that's ok too.
Maughn Gregory
All spiritual writing should be this grungy, this clear-eyed, this smart.
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Must reads:
1. The Age of Criticism (DFW/Franzen influences?)
2. The Child Abuse Tour
3. Obadiah: A Perfect Mess
rated it it was ok
Jun 28, 2018
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Jun 03, 2018
Melissa Fondakowski
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Viper Rum was the first of Mary Karr's work that I read and I was hooked. she's a great poet, and this volume is fantastic. As a poet Karr remains a tried and true storyteller and uses all the things I love about poetry to make these moments stick, sound, rhythm, white space, double meanings...a great volume.
William Clark
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May 16, 2018
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Jun 23, 2018
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Jun 12, 2018
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Jun 26, 2018
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May 08, 2018
Allie Conti
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Jul 17, 2018
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Jul 11, 2018
Scott Beddingfield
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May 25, 2018
Julia Mcconnell
rated it it was amazing
Jun 24, 2018
Lovely Loveday
Tropic of Squalor is the fifth poetry collection written by Karr. The major theme throughout this collection of poems is death. The poems in this poem are realistic and relatable. Some can bring out different emotions for the reader. Tropic of Squalor is a book that is not for everyone but if you like plain spoken poetry that is sarcastic or sometimes rude than this is the book for you. I was not a fan of this collection.
Mark Asnen
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May 30, 2018
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Jun 20, 2018
Samantha Silver
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May 25, 2018
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 2 for #readathon #deweys24hourreadathon - I’d never read Mary Karr’s poetry before, didn’t even know she had previous collections 🙀 but I have read her memoir Lit. Very interesting, I liked the poem cycle that made up the last half of this collection
Jack Bartles
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Jun 02, 2018
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 2 13 Apr 24, 2018 02:16AM  
Mary Karr is an American poet, essayist and memoirist. She rose to fame in 1995 with the publication of her bestselling memoir The Liars' Club. She is the Peck Professor of English Literature at Syracuse University.

Karr was born January 16, 1955, in Groves, a small town in East Texas located in the Port Arthur region, known for its oil refineries and chemical plants, to J. P. and Charlie Marie (Mo
More about Mary Karr