by Charlie Clark
Four Way Books, 2020
Paper: 978-1-945588-52-5 | eISBN: 978-1-945588-89-1
Library of Congress Classification PS3603.L35666N49 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

In The Newest Employee of the Museum of Ruin, poet Charlie Clark interrogates masculinity, the pastoral, the lasting inheritance of one’s lineage, and the mysterious every day. His speaker, ever aware of impending ruin, experiences a landscape colored by anxiety. But his speaker is also self-aware, curious and trying to refrain from too much self-judgement: “I am sorry / for this cruel wish, but I want my life to outlast / bitterness.” The speaker turns over and over the materials of culture, asking what pleasure it creates, replicates, diminishes, or destroys. When the tension runs too high, the poet creates moments of relief: “Suffering is not a philosophy any more than rain is.” Readers follow a speaker searching for ways to enjoy living within a damaged and declining world. Rich in image and wide-eyed, the beautiful, the plain, the ugly coexist in a debut collection 15 years in the making.

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