cover of book

Twenty First Century Blues
by Richard Cecil
Southern Illinois University Press, 2004
Paper: 978-0-8093-2597-9 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-2596-2 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-8881-3
Library of Congress Classification PS3553.E32T94 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.54


Death, fame, art, and religion become comic subjects in Twenty First Century Blues, the fourth collection from Richard Cecil.Whether elegizing his predecessors, predicting his own end, channeling Dickinson’s “corpse-eye-view of stony death,” or imagining Yeats living in Indiana and dealing with English department politics, Cecil tempers his morbidity with a straightforward, tender brand of humor and a refreshing honesty about the shelf life of contemporary poetry. Deadpan and dark, yet pulsing with the spirit of life, these poems speak of historic France, Italy, and Switzerland, where religious persecutions, ancient catastrophes, and other, less personal, failures overshadow the disappointments and shortcomings of the poet’s modern life in the Midwest. Grimly cheered by these revelations, Cecil shows that poets, like cicadas screaming in the summer air, “won’t shut up until we’re skeletons.” 

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