cover of book

Then and Now: Poems
by James Cummins
Ohio University Press, 2004
Paper: 978-0-8040-1067-2 | eISBN: 978-0-8040-4018-1 | Cloth: 978-0-8040-1066-5
Library of Congress Classification PS3553.U455T48 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.54


James Cummins’s first book of poems, The Whole Truth, became known throughout much of the poetry world as the “Perry Mason sestinas.” His second book, Portrait in a Spoon, was chosen by Richard Howard for the James Dickey Prize Contemporary Poetry Series.

His latest and most accomplished work is collected in Then & Now, which reflects the same inventiveness and wit evident in his earlier books, with a deepening of tone and spirit. The result is a collection of poems filled with feeling and with Cummins's signature anguished humor.

If the language of poetry is a way into a hall of mirrors of the self, it can be a way out, too. The voice that emerges in Then & Now is sane, imaginative, bemused, and sly, not only taking responsibility for the character of the writer put fully on display, but ironically and affectionately exploring how this process occurs. 

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