These poems are about gardens, particularly the seventeenth-century French baroque gardens designed by the father of the form, Andre Le Notre. While the poems focus on such examples as Versailles, which Le Notre created for Louis XIV, they also explore the garden as metaphor. Using th... e imagery of the garden, Cole Swensen considers everything from human society to the formal structure of poetry. She looks in particular at the concept of public versus private property, asking who actually owns a garden? A gentle irony accompanies the question because in French, the phrase 'le notre' means 'ours.' Whereas all of Le Notre's gardens were designed and built for the aristocracy, today most are public parks. Swensen probes the two senses of 'le notre' to discover where they intersect, overlap, or blur.
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