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My Father Says Grace: Poems
by Donald Platt
University of Arkansas Press, 2007
Paper: 978-1-55728-837-0 | eISBN: 978-1-61075-271-8
Library of Congress Classification PS3566.L286M95 2007
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.54

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
In his third collection, My Father Says Grace, Donald Platt combines elegy with verse of larger historical allusion and reference. At the center of the book stand poems detailing a father’s stroke and slowly developing Alzheimer’s disease and how it affects one family. An extended meditation on a mother-in-law’s dying provides counterpoint to elegies for more public figures like Walt Whitman and Janis Joplin. The private life in “the valley of the shadow of death” often gets juxtaposed with explicitly political verse. One of these poems records the racially charged conversations in a small southern town’s Amazing Grace Beauty Salon. Another describes a Vietnam protestor, famously photographed while sticking flowers in an MP’s gun barrel, alongside images from his later life as a transvestite. The poems tend to find themselves in the midst of crisis, historical or personal. They yearn for “transport” and strive “to be ‘carried across,’ away, out, toward, back into / / some new country / where the soul improvises, croons scat to itself alone.”

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