The poems of Angie Estes' remarkable debut collection, The Uses of Passion, are elegantly composed and artfully restrained, yet they are also uncommonly wise. Like the Gods and heavenly bodies of the Renaissance painters she loves, the earthly bodies of these poems are also subject to the same gravities and amorous forces, the same profoundly ironic weathers and shifting perspectives of those above. These meditations illuminate how it is this field of constantly moving passions will, in the end, define us all. The Uses of Passion grants us that rarest of pleasures—the chance to watch a singular poetic mind and talent at work, the chance to honor a new, persuasive voice.

—David St. John

The Uses of Passion is a book full of rich, gratifying language: "banked fire no whisper will ignite" ("Elegy for my Corpse"); "In their iridescent helmets of mail / they are perpetual harborers and bringers / of news, harbingers of what's already known" ("Hummingbirds: A History"); "the slamming of the stamp mill thrives / in my fingers" ("Conversations on the Line").  What is more, this attractive medium serves a remarkably lively, unconventional poetic imagination: the imagined corpse, the hummingbirds as supernatural spirits of need, the prostitute who hears the stamp mill, have been meditated and assimilated, so that the reader discovers with another, further pleasure that the gorgeous language has sprung from reality.  This is an unusually fine and distinctive first volume.     —Robert Pinsky

A luminous, beautiful debut.  The pages nearly tremble with light—with intelligence and tenderness. —Carole Maso

In these poems of erotic and aesthetic passion, Angie Estes returns for us the possibility of classical beauty. Shapely, lucid, and enticingly restrained, The Uses of Passion considers, with balanced measures of wit and gravity, the triumvirate forces of love, sexuality, and art on both our real and imagined lives. 

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