front cover of Discovery and Reminiscence
Discovery and Reminiscence
Essays on the Poetry of Mona Van Duyn
Michael Burns
University of Arkansas Press, 1999

A former United States Poet Laureate, winner of a Pulitzer Prize, and recipient of numerous grants and awards, Mona Van Duyn has been hailed as one of our greatest living American poets. To help broaden and uniquely inform our understanding of Van Duyn’s work, editor Michael Burns has gathered ten essays, a poem, a succinct biographical sketch, and Van Duyn’s own laureate address to the Library of Congress.

In the first section of this collection, poets Maxine Kumin and Carolyn Kizer provide tributes that elucidate the special effect Van Duyn’s poetry has had on their work and thought. Pulitzer Prize–winner Richard Howard contributes a poem that both extols the qualities of Van Duyn’s poems and lyrically places those qualities within her contemporary scene.

The second section contains eight essays exploring aspects as varied as Van Duyn’s penchant for particularity, her remarkable ability to rediscover for us the strangeness of everyday living, and her elegant style, fluid in both free verse and form. Included are contributions from Stephen Yenser, Rachel Hadas, Emily Grosholz, Sidney Burris, Ann Townsend, Michael Bugeja, Wyatt Prunty, and Jane Hoogestraat.

The final section opens with Van Duyn’s witty and incisive overview of the state of poetry in America at the close of the twentieth century. Also included is a short narrative history of Van Duyn’s literary career. Filled with keen prose by distinguished poets and critics, this collection is not only a resounding tribute to one poet’s body of work, but also a timely pulse-taking of the literary scene surrounding Van Duyn’s poetry.


front cover of It Will Be All Right in the Morning
It Will Be All Right in the Morning
Michael Burns
University of Arkansas Press, 1998

In his plain-spoken lyrics and dramatic monologues, Michael Burns digs at the marrow. His poems—in formal and free verse—are quick, incisive, and always capable of revealing the dark whimsies of fate and the pain of our own actions and inactions.

These poems travel to Casqui mounds in the Arkansas Delta, traffic-clogged urban streets, a wasteland in Oklahoma, and Faulkner’s Rowan Oak. They assume the voices of others so convincingly that we find ourselves face to face with hunters, philanderers, husbands, a Union general, a Snopes, and even a version of God.

Gathering the images of each place, crafting lines in clear, unpretentious language, Burns comes across new knowledge, confronting the ever-present mysteries and the ways the mind loves to lie to itself.


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