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Unmanly Grief: Poems
by Jess Williard
University of Arkansas Press, 2019
Paper: 978-1-68226-093-7 | eISBN: 978-1-61075-662-4
Library of Congress Classification PS3623.I5744A6 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC | REQUEST ACCESSIBLE FILE
ABOUT THIS BOOK

Finalist, 2019 Miller Williams Poetry Prize

“Poems that lead us to striking insights and strange destinations.”
—Billy Collins

The men who recur as characters throughout Jess Williard’s Unmanly Grief perform their masculinity in a variety of ways: boxing, theater, brotherhood, labor, and familial and romantic love. Marked by a sharp nostalgia, Williard’s poems move from Wisconsin to New York City and back, tracing the geographic movement of the speaker and his family: a teenage sister who disappears and returns, changed irrevocably; an older brother dismantled in adulthood; an ever-sacrificing father. Woven through the musculature of this varied and exciting collection, music appears as readily in dexterous formal verse as in lean, scrappy storytelling. What results is a crooning celebration of struggle and tenderness in this world, “where to be small and furious is enough.”


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