Ultra Deep Field by Ace Boggess

Ultra Deep Field

"In these poems, Ace Boggess pursues the tough questions about what makes us tick, what makes us keep going, what makes us say enough is enough. With Boggess the pursuit is made with an abnormally brutal honesty and deft manipulation of image that creates poetry rich with surprise and revelation—definitely not to be missed. There are poems about the ‘ultra deep field’ of t...

Title:Ultra Deep Field
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Edition Language:English

Ultra Deep Field Reviews

  • Marne Wilson

    In his 2014 collection

    , Ace Boggess used poetry to communicate the complex emotions that prisoners go through when they are locked up. This collection is billed as his follow-up to that one, and it consists largely of poems written during the first two years after his own release from prison. The Ultra Deep Field of the title is a highly-detailed image of a very small section of space captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003. Boggess is using this extremely close-up view of g

    In his 2014 collection

    , Ace Boggess used poetry to communicate the complex emotions that prisoners go through when they are locked up. This collection is billed as his follow-up to that one, and it consists largely of poems written during the first two years after his own release from prison. The Ultra Deep Field of the title is a highly-detailed image of a very small section of space captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2003. Boggess is using this extremely close-up view of galaxies far, far away as a metaphor for the mysteries of the human heart and mind: "how better to seek out the Infinite/ than exploring farthest bubble edges of the finite?"

    It took me several readings of

    to realize how little the poet himself appears in that collection of poems. He is merely a presence guiding us through the world of the prison and explaining to us what we find there. This collection is much different. Once released into a world of wide-open spaces where he can be alone with his thoughts, Boggess turns his camera inward and examines the universe inside himself. This tone is set from the very first poem (one of my favorites), "Ask Away": "ask me what I did to deserve this &/ what I did not do when the corner choir sang its shadows," Boggess writes. "ask also about softness &/ how easy it is to name those better times." Boggess is known for his question poems, in which he answers found questions in highly unique ways. Here he is inviting the reader to ask personal questions and hear the answers, an interesting choice when there is actually not a single question poem included in this collection.

    This collection isn't as tightly focused as

    . We skip around from subject to subject and time period to time period, much like Dorothy skipping down the Yellow Brick Road in another favorite of mine, "Watching the Wizard of Oz in Prison." This means that the reader is never bored, but the poems don't build up to the same level of intensity as in the earlier collection. Instead, we are drifting through space, marveling at the comets and asteroids as they go by, but never lingering too long in one place. And as we travel, "we share an infinite serenity/ an instant of wellness in this unwell world."*

    *from "Nor'Easter"

  • Janet

    I didn't know the work of Ace Boggess or even know his name until this past summer. After his name worked its way into my consciousness, I realized I had seen his individual poems published in various literary journals. I re-read those poems and responded to his honesty and the freshness of his images, so I pre-ordered his new book Ultra Deep Field and was not disappointed. I admire much about this collection but nothing more than the ragged truth of his own experience as he confronts the world,

    I didn't know the work of Ace Boggess or even know his name until this past summer. After his name worked its way into my consciousness, I realized I had seen his individual poems published in various literary journals. I re-read those poems and responded to his honesty and the freshness of his images, so I pre-ordered his new book Ultra Deep Field and was not disappointed. I admire much about this collection but nothing more than the ragged truth of his own experience as he confronts the world, the consequences of choices, and his search for meaning in simple things. One of my favorites: "Home Confinement" speaks of a visit from an officer, "a spider spill[ing] down the mortar-gray shoulder of his uniform" and the indifference of the officer both to the spider and his subject, the speaker whose life means nothing to the man at his door. Another of my favorites, "A Religious Discussion" pits the wistfulness of a well-meaning chaplain to the hard-core reality of a speaker whose relationship to God is brutally frank and true. I admire this collection and will most certainly be reading it again and again. If you do not know Boggess' work, I encourage you to get this collection and savor it well. It's worth your time.

  • Daniel McTaggart

    In "Ultra Deep Field", Ace Boggess sidesteps the straight-on way of seeing things. Where most of us merely see stars in the sky, he may perceive a stew of suffixes for unsaid sentiment. If I had trouble wrapping around his point of view, I simply sat back and let it wash over me. Like an envelope of moisture after climbing out of the pool, I let particulates peel away at their own pace. We can all be grateful for a poet that challenges our senses. I prefer a small part of my world to never appea

    In "Ultra Deep Field", Ace Boggess sidesteps the straight-on way of seeing things. Where most of us merely see stars in the sky, he may perceive a stew of suffixes for unsaid sentiment. If I had trouble wrapping around his point of view, I simply sat back and let it wash over me. Like an envelope of moisture after climbing out of the pool, I let particulates peel away at their own pace. We can all be grateful for a poet that challenges our senses. I prefer a small part of my world to never appear as what it seems.

    Daniel McTaggart

    Beat Poet Laureate of West Virginia, author of "Diner Poems", and editor of "Diner Stories: Off the Menu."

  • Donna Merritt

    This is my first time reading Ace Boggess. I like his style. The book is broken into three sections: Being & Nothingness, Being & Time, Being There. I liked "Being There" best, though there were poems to admire throughout. I found it interesting that he avoids commas and writes all poems (at least in this book) in couplets (but not always self-contained, often utilizing the technique of enjambment). His outlook is realistic and sometimes a bit gloomy, but never outright despair; hope lin

    This is my first time reading Ace Boggess. I like his style. The book is broken into three sections: Being & Nothingness, Being & Time, Being There. I liked "Being There" best, though there were poems to admire throughout. I found it interesting that he avoids commas and writes all poems (at least in this book) in couplets (but not always self-contained, often utilizing the technique of enjambment). His outlook is realistic and sometimes a bit gloomy, but never outright despair; hope lingers on the lines.

    Some of my favorite poems were "The New Journalism" (

    ), "Things You Don't Know You'll Miss" (

    ), "The Good Poem" (

    ), "The English Language" (

    ), "Thanks for Ending Your Poems—rejection letter with typo" (

    ), and in its entirety . . .

    "Infamy"

    they will say of me

    I carved my poems with a kitchen knife

    my iambs became I-wants

    my rhythm staccato as a broken faucet

    they will say I should spend my life

    writing in the language of remorse

  • Keith

    Full disclosure: As editor of Brick Road Poetry Press, I published this book, so of course, it gets 5 stars! I just reread Ultra Deep Field by Ace Boggess to select poems for the 2017 Pushcart Prize nominations. "Jar-O-Pain" and "Breath" were my selections here. The sensory details in both these poems are astonishing. I love Boggess' use of couplets throughout this collection. And I'm impressed by the range of his topics and tones. In this collection, you'll find poems that are philosophical, pl

    Full disclosure: As editor of Brick Road Poetry Press, I published this book, so of course, it gets 5 stars! I just reread Ultra Deep Field by Ace Boggess to select poems for the 2017 Pushcart Prize nominations. "Jar-O-Pain" and "Breath" were my selections here. The sensory details in both these poems are astonishing. I love Boggess' use of couplets throughout this collection. And I'm impressed by the range of his topics and tones. In this collection, you'll find poems that are philosophical, playful, angry, romantic, and sorrowful. And some are just plain funny. I highly recommend this collection, and Ace Boggess' previous collection, The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, too).

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