Winner, 2016 Miller Williams Poetry Prize, edited by Billy Collins
Randall Jarrell said that when you read a poem “you are entering a foreign country whose laws and language and life are a kind of translation of your own.” In [explicit lyrics], we are visitors to a world that is familiar as if the poems are occurring in our town, on the streets where we live. But the laws have changed, and what is normally important is no longer relevant. What was meaningless is now everything.
As the title indicates, these poems are lyrics—musings on the small decisions required by existence in the modern world. They contain the grand themes of art—life, love, and mortality—but not where you expect. The smallest and most mundane objects become the catalyst for reevaluating our roles in society and the world. This is not poetry as art. This is life as art, from a country where poetry is the only language.