Island of the Innocent: A Consideration of the Book of Job

Island of the Innocent: A Consideration of the Book of Job

by Diane Glancy


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A New York Times Book Review New & Noteworthy Selection.

“A moving testament to the creative act of enduring."—Foreword Reviews, starred review

"What bounty to have Glancy's great art erupt once more." —Spencer Reece, author of The Clerk’s Tale and The Road to Emmaus

"Every classic text should be so fortunate." —Mark Larrimore, author of The Book of Job: A Biography

There is much mystery surrounding the Book of Job. Who was he? Where was he? What prompts Job's "comforters" to accuse him of wrong-doing as the cause of his suffering? When were Job's words written? How did Job's wife endure her husband's ordeals? And who is innocent among us?

Island of the Innocent's narrative dramatizes how the way one looks at something shapes and changes what is seen. Voices of the trials of the Native American interject themselves into the text. There is Custer riding toward the Little Bighorn. There is a Native American doll in a museum, taken from a battlefield in western Nebraska after the massacre of Ash Hollow. There is Job, sitting in his yard chair in discomfort, among the falling leaves and his three friends.

And finally, Jehorah. Only Diane Glancy could create the missing story of Job's wife, unsilencing this biblical character and endowing her suffering with meaning. Here is Jehorah in "Job's Wife":

What next? What next?—I wrote
in my book of sorrows. I keep a journal asking
God what he is doing. Once I start it's hard to stop.
I was expecting more boils on Job. More death—
more ever-ready friendly visits. But after them—
who was left?— I ask you. where is my broom?
My head? My battle-ax?

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781885983800
Publisher: Turtle Point Press
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Series: Joan Books
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 787,437
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Diane Glancy is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and professor emeritus at Macalester College. Her works have won the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the 2016 Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book, the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas, the 2003 Juniper Prize for Poetry for The Primer of the Obsolete, and the 1993 American Book Award for Claiming Breath.

In 2018, Publishers Weekly named her book Pushing the Bear: A Novel of the Trail of Tears one of the ten essential Native American novels. Glancy's work reflects her European and Native-American descent, and frequently depicts both Native American and non-Native characters.

Her latest work, Island of the Innocent: A Consideration of the Book of Job, continues and deepens her lifelong exploration of the religious and cultural dimensions of identity, both personal and collective. Her most recent books are It Was Over There by That Place (The Atlas Review Chapbook Series) and The Book of Bearings (Wipf and Stock).

Glancy divides her time between Kansas and Texas.

Table of Contents

Part 1

May lit the sky. 1

Dormer 2

A Treatise on Suffering in Uz 3

Now You Are More Yourself 6

Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out-JOB 37:23 7

Extirpate 8

Versions of the Many-Versions-of-Greasy-Grass 10

Alternative Facts 15

History (a) by interlocutory 16

May it work 17

My Own Uz 18

Sometimes a door closes in its place 19

Part 2

Abstract 23

More than Content Is the Manner in Which It Is Held 25

Part 3

I have sewed sackcloth to my skin-Job 16:15 43

I Will Drop by Unannounced 44

She Was First to Speak 45

Butter Beans 46

Job, the Comet Man 48

Storiation 50

Friends Arrive 51

Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar 52

Elihu the Weather-Man Arrives 53

Behemoth Speaks for Himself and Leviathan 54

Certain Days Gave Him Trouble 56

Jehorah 57

With Dreams upon My Bed 70

Comet-Man's Wife 73

Part 4

The Long Arc of My Driving 77

Part 5

Abstract 91

Until the times of restitution- ACTS 3:21 93

Pretend 95

An ordinary day to work 98

The So-Called Ostrich Speech 99

He Liveth 100

He Have Nothing to Do the Rest of the Day but Jumping 102

Leave the Wife Alone Let Her Fire Up Her Toaster 103

The taken parts of a text 104

Clarification for the Knitting and Fabric-Arts Club of Uz 105

Bridge 107

How Can I Keep from Happening This? 108

The Questioning 110

Lament for the Animals 112

There Was in Uz 115

Fluvial 117

He Dressed Me for the Pretend Cold 119

Part 6

An Act of Invasion 125

I, Job 130

Driving through Snow across Ohio, January 12, 2018 132

What she cooked in white lard on the wood stove. 134

Where Does the River Go at Night? 136

A Controlled Burn 137

There is Job in his yard chair. 139

Yet Trouble Came 140

Dear General 141

You have heard of the patience of Job-James 5:11 142

Part 7

Job in the Interstice I 147

Job in the Interstice II 150

Job in the Interstice III 153

Job in the Interstice IV 156

Fly Swatter - Meat Cleaver - for the Standard Kitchen 158

Therefore, the where were you? speech of Job chapters 38-41 after which Job repents 159

The first [observed] black hole Cygnus X-1. The first hen [Raphaella]. 160

A Mole in Uz 161

Part 8 Restoration

Job's Wife 165

American Villanelle 167

Addendum 169

Travel from Pittsburgh [again] / Writing the Versions: A Recurrence of Variation 170

The Bat House 178

Unicorn 182

Writing 183

Jump Suit 185

Where Is the Is that Is Is? 195

Notes 199

Acknowledgments 205

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