The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forché

The Country Between Us

The book opens with a series of poems about El Salvador, where Forché worked as a journalist and was closely involved with the political struggle in that tortured country in the late 1970's. Forché's other poems also tend to be personal, immediate, and moving. Perhaps the final effect of her poetry is the image of a sensitive, brave, and engaged young woman who has made her life a journey. She has already traveled to many places, as these poems...

Details The Country Between Us

TitleThe Country Between Us
Release DateMar 31st, 1982
PublisherHarper Perennial
GenrePoetry, Literature, Classics, Nonfiction

Reviews The Country Between Us

  • Steven Godin
    "in the mass graves a woman's hand, cagged in the ribs of her child.A single stone in Spain beneath the olives, in Germany the silent windy fields, in the Soviet Union where the snowis scarred with wire, in Salvador where the blood willnever soak into the ground.Everywhere and alwaysgo after that which is lost.There is a cyclone fence betweenourselves and the slaughterand behind it we have our inner calmprotected world like netted fish.Exactly li...
  • Andrea
    If you haven't read this book, you really need to. Seriously. El Salvador, the disappeared, the problem of making a difference in the world, the problem of being an American. It's amazing. I first read The Country Between Us years and years ago, and I reread it probably twice a year. And pick it up more often than that to read an individual poem.
  • Alison
    I shouldn't really be rating this because I don't know a damn thing about poetry, but I enjoyed it (what does that mean, anyway, to say that we enjoyed or didn't enjoy something that we don't really understand, or against which we have a prejudice? I don't read poetry because 1. I don't know anything about it, and 2. I don't like it, but which came first? I pose it as a conundrum but it's not difficult: I don't like things I don't understand, whi...
  • Steven
    The central metaphor in Ms. Forché’s second volume of poetry, captured in its title, “the country between us” (44), represents distance in its physical manifestations and also in its emotional variations. The poems, whether of witness to the bloody revolts in Salvador or of witness to the emotional violence of coming back to America after war, experiment with distances: the geographical distance of old friends (“Joseph”), the distance ...
  • Loyd
    The Country Between Us is one of those kind of books that comes along at a particular time in your life, making the world spin a little faster on its axis. I read this while on tour with a rock band, making our way through the brutal heat of a Nevada desert, and the words came alive right before my eyes. Some of the images, such as a Colonel who collects body part souvenirs and spills a jar of ears on the ground (the ones that fell facing the flo...
  • Amy
    Damn. It's rare that I devour a book of poetry, cover to cover, as I would fiction. Readable, beautiful, harrowing, moving.
  • Lorena
    As a poet myself, Carolyn Forché was formative, both because of her restrained power ("The Colonel") and her passion for Central America under siege. As a contemporary of Forché, and like so many others of my generation, I could not forget the anguish I felt during those years of bloodshed and tragedy. I do believe that the fact I am currently spending hours a day researching information for a work of historical fiction about the Revolution in ...
  • Pammie
    Forche's poetry is extremely intense. She writes of her experiences in El Salvador, with rebels and with dictators...a bag of human ears dumped out on a dining table...a Vietnam vet lost for all time in anguish...These aren't pretty, pastoral poems. They hit you below the belt, making you see how we must bear witness to these things in order to live in the world we created. Forche isn't at all guilty of Springsteen's accusation that "the poets 'r...
  • Craig
    Is there a modern poet who can combine the personal and political better than Forche?My favorite pieces: Joseph, Return, and Ourselves Or Nothing. Fantastic work. A stunning (in all possible meanings), beautiful voice.
  • Kiki Petrosino
    All I have to say is, "The Colonel."Hadn't read much by this poet till this book was recommended to me at Bread Loaf. Now I can't get enough.
  • Rachel
    Fantastic. How is it that it's taken me this long to read this? Stunning, absolutely.
  • Christine
    This slim volume sends one gliding from the civil unrest of 1970s El Salvador to the steely Eastern Europe of the Cold War and into the forever-troubled pulse of all modernity. Author Carolyn Forche blends the personal and political into something deeper and more fecund with its ability to sear into one's mind a lyrical mixture of the beautiful and horrible. Gathering this world together without seam, The Country Between Us reflects back to us th...
  • Carlos Cumpian
    How can a young American poet sell over 10,000 copies of her second book in a year's time? Besides being a talented writer (there are many); launch it's distribution during an American invasion against poor and radical Central Americans, do activist readings at every venue possible and look and sound fantastic. Carolyn Forche had been compared to the GIANT of the southern continent Pablo Neruda in her back cover blurb. Since then the Neruda compa...
  • Michelle
    An arresting book of poems heavily influenced by the author’s political experiences living among creators and suppressors of revolution everywhere. Though the voice is righteously opinionated and the narrator clearly engaged in the plight of those around her, the story-telling is balanced, and therefore more powerful, because of the poet’s aesthetic distance and her revelations concerning the fraught nature of political and humanitarian cause...
  • Richard
    My neighbors set up a free library box on the curb - kind of a give-a-book, take-a-book system. Naturally, I check it a few times a week. The other day when I opened the door, this little collection literally fell out into my hands. I don't know much about poetry, but I thought, "What the hell, I'll give it a try."It's beautiful.Another reviewer mentions that the author seems "almost arrogant" in a couple of the poems. I'd say she comes across as...
  • William
    A ferociously good collection of a young Carolyn Forche. The opening poems turning on the war inEl Salvador are told very concretely, so that the politics assume a particular shape, rather than settling for the ideological posturing of many political poets. Other poems turn on her own encounters in Europe. The overwhelming even is that of a young woman very much alive. And as a poet, she repeatedly turns a nice phraseI am the woman whose photogra...
  • Corin
    "Link hands, link arms with mein the next of lives everafter, where we will not know eachotheror ourselves, where we will be a various darkness among ideas that amountedto nothing, among men who amountedto nothing, with a belief that becamebut small lightin the breadth of time where we began among each other, where we lived in the hour farthest from God."-Carolyn Forché, "Message" 1980
  • Allison Corbett
    "Your problem is not your life as it isin America, not that your hands, as youtell me, are tied to something. It isthat you were born to an island of greedand grace where you have this senseof yourself as apart from others. It isnot your right to feel powerless. Betterpeople than you were powerless. You have not returned to your country,but to a life you never left."From the poem "The Return"
  • Jim
    My favorite poetry collection, wonderful stuff. Stumbled on a copy for $1 years ago at a "warehouse book sale" and went back the next day and bought all seven or eight remaining copies to give away. Met Carolyn Forche three or four years (?) later at the Spoleto Festival. Surprisingly, at the reading she showed a great sense of humor, and then as afterwards, she radiated great warmth and humanity. Please read it and then her other works!
  • Nicola
    "Poem as evidence. Poem as trace," Forche writes in her introduction to "Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness." The evidence and trace that Forche presents in "The Country Between Us" is so provocative, disturbing, and important because of her insistence on a "social space" between the personal and political. Forche is not a journalist, but a poet and a person, remembering these brutal times as a foreigner in El Salvador; she i...
  • Caleb Benadum
    Carolyn Forche, author of the famous prose poem "The Colonel," shines in her short work of only 22 poems. The magic of her poetry is its poignancy, its free-verse readability, and the way in which she is able to treat events in different countries, different times, with an air that makes those events real even to the reader who has never left their home. This collection highlights her expatriate past, but reveals a poet-storyteller of the finest ...
  • Peggy
    Amazing, forceful poetry, this book defines a poetry of witness. There are pure, hard-wrought words of experience that describe late twentieth century political violence in El Salvador. This is a cry from the soul--this is witness, beautifully constructed, devastatingly felt. A must-read.
  • Leigh Clemons
    "The General," "Photograph of My Room," and other wonderful descriptive works full of dramatic and haunting imagery....
  • Jason
    I read The Country Between Us about 13 years ago, but I guess I was not that good, or mature of a reader. I didn't realize what an amazing collection this. A beautiful book.
  • Andrew Payton
  • Amy Kitchell-Leighty
    so-so...much more hype than I think it deserves.
  • Benjamin Bryan
    Compelling and beautiful.
  • Emilie
    The Colonel is one of the most poignant poems I've read.
  • secondwomn
    walking the knife edge