Mrs. Ramsay's Knee
Mrs. Ramsay's Knee
Idris Anderson
5.5 x 8.5, 116 pages

Published: 2008

ISBN 978-0-87421-718-6
cloth $20.95

ISBN 978-0-87421-719-3
paper $13.95

ISBN 978-087421-720-9
e-book $10.95

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Idris Anderson
Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2007, Idris Anderson has published poems in The Hudson Review, The Nation, The Ontario Review, The Paris Review, Paris/Atlantic, South Carolina Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Southern Review, and ZYZZYVA. In 1991, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Teacher-Scholar grant, which she held in the Classics Department at Stanford University. She has a Ph.D. in Shakespeare studies from the University of South Carolina and an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Currently, Idris Anderson is Head of the English Department of Crystal Springs Uplands School, Hillsborough, California.

May Swenson Poetry Award Winner 2008

Mrs. Ramsay's Knee

Idris Anderson
foreword by Harold Bloom

Pushcart Winner, 2010

It's rare, especially now, to encounter poems so well-made, so rich in traditional learning and painterly exactitude, that speak to the heart as strongly as to the mind. This is a memorable debut.
—Alan Williamson

Encountering news photographs, paintings, and remembered private moments in many places, Idris Anderson's poems respond to love and grief, memories and catastrophes, beauty and suffering, by tracing visual compositions, real or imagined--blue water, green rocks, orange fire, gray smoke, yellow helmets, a white dress, mauve-pink firelight of bombed burning houses, purple figs, a black boot, and red mud, a red coat, the bright red blood of injury. In this book, insistent seeing can make damage uncomfortably appealing to our greedy eyes, and yet is also a tender homage to love and beauty.
—Reginald Gibbons

Idris Anderson's capacious imagination and intelligence come alive in what she calls "the fluctuating waters of myth and history" and illuminates each moment of her resplendent and poignant collection of poems, Mrs. Ramsay's Knee. The hope or drive of these poems--and their success--is to discover, as Virginia Woolf reminds us, "intimacy itself" and to lay claim to the knowledge that lies deep inside the landscape of our desires.
—Michael Collier

Volume 12 in the Swenson Poetry Award Series, Mrs. Ramsay's Knee offers fresh and elegant poems by Idris Anderson, many of them ekphrastic considerations of visual works of art. Among her subjects are paintings by Rembrandt, Rousseau, Pollock, and Chagall, yet she equally explores a set of news photos from the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

Idris Anderson's voice is both compassionate and calm, yet she brings a vivid imaginative world to light, illuminating art and life alike. The poet has little interest in ideology, but great concern for lived experience in all its richness. This poetry is as full of feeling as intelligence, drawing the reader ever closer to that intimacy with the human condition that brings true understanding. In selecting her work to win the Swenson Poetry Award for 2008, Harold Bloom wrote, "The grave, measured poetic voice won me instantly."