Arts of a Cold Sun: POEMS
G. E. Murray University of Illinois Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3563.U768A88 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In these poems, G. E. Murray blends the colors of the soul with those of the world it brushes up against, exploring the ways in which art, both as possession and possessor, informs perception.
Viewing his subjects sometimes from airplane altitude, sometimes from the intimacy of a shared restaurant table, Murray crafts “true stories about color,” narratives of dislocation and belonging that invite readers to question their own relationship to art.
Included in this volume is a long sequential poem titled “The Seconds,” which Murray composed across the second days of thirteen months. The rhythms of this diary-as-poem seize the tensions of shifting times and locales, capturing the essences of moments that are at once chosen and arbitrary.
“Codes toward an Incidental City,” the sequence that closes the book, is a confederacy of forty poems that delve into the concrete familiarities and mythologies of urban landscapes, illuminating the ecstasies of city life.
Ira Sadoff University of Illinois Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3569.A26B37 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Ira Sadoff’s new volume of poems opens with a quotation from Rilke: “But because truly being here is so much; because everything here / apparently needs us, the fleeting world, which in some strange way / keeps calling us. . . .” The poetry collected here is a response to this call.
Rooted firmly in the “fleeting world,” Sadoff’s poems find epiphanies of meaning in unexpected and even unpleasant experiences and emotions. The poems in Barter delve deeply into the past, the personal past of regret, travel, love, divorce, and bereavement, as well as the global past of Beethoven, Vietnam, and the fall of communism. Each poem is offered up by Sadoff as a barter, something to be traded for a little more time, a little more understanding.
The poems in Barter comment on the power of culture to interject itself into our desire for an idealized self, the way our inner and outer lives lack correspondence, harmony, and integration. They also talk about commerce, the trading of bodies, the way we as a nation “use” and exchange and appropriate -- and like Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilyich, try to bargain with and evade the urgency of our time on earth.
In the poem “Self-Portrait with a Critic,” Sadoff makes what could be a succinct statement of purpose: “And inside, let’s not make it pretty, / let’s save the off-rhyme and onomatopoeia / / for the concert hall, let’s go to the wormy place / where the problematic stirs inside his head.”
The Broken World: POEMS
Marcus Cafagna University of Illinois Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3553.A317B76 1996 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as one of five volumes published in 1996 in the National Poetry Series
"Marcus Cafagña is a poet who shies at nothing, who will
not turn away from what he sees--ordinary people struggling against, and
sometimes breaking on, the wheel of their fate. The Broken World
is a deeply humane and accomplished first book--probing, watchful, compassionate,
-- Edward Hirsch
"I challenge anyone to be unmoved by The Broken World. Cafagña
never gives up in these difficult, heart-rending poems." -- Jim Daniels,
editor of Letters to America: Contemporary American Poetry on Race The Broken World, the powerful debut of a poet of great depth
and maturity, begins with narratives of individuals caught up in circumstance--a
distressed girl on a Detroit overpass, a boy shooting baskets at a crisis
center. By the end of the slim volume, Marcus Cafagña has led us
through the postwar New York of Jewish Holocaust survivors to his native
Michigan, where his marriage ended tragically with his wife's suicide,
a death that has come to symbolize for Cafagña the confusion and
madness of the twentieth century.
"Harper's is a poetry of classically unadorned statement, a direct,
unflinching record of a man alive in his time. When he is at his best,
in both his public and his private voice, he creates a language humming
with emotion and ennobled by a deeply felt human dignity."
-- Virginia Quarterly Review
". . . one of the finest poets of our time."
-- San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle
Now published for the first time, Ever the Winds of Chance is Sandburg's evocative sequel to Always the Young Strangers (1953), "the best autobiography ever written by an American" (Robert E. Sherwood, New York Times). Though left unfinished at his death, the sequel provides a wry, nostalgic chronicle of Sandburg's college years and early adulthood, a restless decade for a young man still in quest of his calling.
Ever the Winds of Chance opens in 1898 when the twenty-year-old Sandburg, recently returned from the Spanish-American war, enrolls at Lombard College in his native Galesburg, Illinois. Sandburg writes about his job at the fire station; his teachers, inspired or otherwise; his classmates and their camaraderie; his observations on great literary works and writers; and his own writings for the school newspaper, literary review, and yearbook and for the Galesburg Mail. But he also includes much about life between school years and after college, recounting his various brief careers as a fireman, salesman of stereoscopic views, advertising copywriter, vagabond, "jailbird," and budding poet and socialist. Together these reminiscences provide an intimate look at the formative years of a preeminent figure in American letters.
"I count Sandra McPherson as one of the dozen or so truly outstanding
American poets who write brilliantly in the Romantic tradition. . . . The God of Indeterminacy brings together a group of exciting poems
showing the vital influence of her interest in the blues tradition and
in African-American quiltmaking. They are brilliant testimonials to this
fruitful wedding of the musical, the visual, and the literary."
-- Clarance Major
GREAT BIRD OF LOVE: POEMS
Paul Zimmer University of Illinois Press, 1989 Library of Congress PS3576.I47G74 1989 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
"The Great Bird of Love brims with a life so intense that it
must be told quietly. The pages are quirky, full of surprise, variety,
humor, and the sustaining reliable voice of a worthy guide to experience.
These poems come from perception informed by sympathy, and the language
is alive with verbal adventure."
-- William Stafford
A book in the National Poetry Series
The Hollow Log Lounge: POEMS
R. T. Smith University of Illinois Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3569.M537914H65 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
"This is no fairy tale. / It's all fantastic and bizarre and true. / It's my life, a raspy song, that sounds better if you sing along."
The men and women who live and work near Opelika, Alabama, gather at the Hollow Log Lounge. There, under the watchful eye of the stuffed fox behind the bar, they unload their gripes and worries, tell their stories, argue, joke, commune, complain, and confess.
In this collection of poems, R. T. Smith paints a vividly imagined portrait of the community in this small-town bar, capturing the chorus of the patrons' voices echoing off the knotted wood-paneled walls. Smith's stand-in, Sam Buckhannon, scribbles stories heard and overheard as tongues loosened by liquor spin out monologues in which southern idiom and vernacular seem perfectly at home within the constraints of measured verse.
In House of Poured-Out Waters, Jane Mead's substantial new collection, she continues to grapple with a world both personal and cultural. Poised in the slender moment between too early and too late, between the difficult past and the unimaginable future, Mead's poems remind us that the old debates about fate and free will, nature and nurture, are also matters of personal urgency.
More than anything, it is her spiritual dimension that offers Mead a way into the future--but that way must be paved, image by image, with the world before her. Simultaneously conversational and lyrical, these fearless poems extend the possibilities of narrative verse.
The HOUSE OF SONG: POEMS
David Wagoner University of Illinois Press, 2002 Library of Congress PS3545.A345H68 2002 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
As a recipient of Poetry's Levinson Prize and the Ruth Lilly Prize and a nominee for the American Book Award and National Book Award, David Wagoner is one of this country's most celebrated poets.
In The House of Song, he offers a hundred new poems in six parts. At turns elegiac, comic, and nostalgic, these poems venture to the seemingly infinitesimal points where people, legends, and culture collide with nature, memory, and action.
With characteristic wit and brevity, Wagoner chronicles the material invasions of the natural world, reconsidering Thoreau amid ruminations on voyeurs and destroyers, slug watchers and moth collectors.
The House of Song asserts Wagoner's place among the finest of American poets, past and present.
Rebecca Wolff University of Illinois Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3623.O56M3 2001 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Selected by Robert Pinsky as one of five volumes published in 2001 in the National Poetry Series
In the Manderley of Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier's forbidding haven of mocking ghosts and secrets that refuse to remain buried, nothing is as it seems. So in this stunning debut collection by Rebecca Wolff, cities, partners, mothers, sisters, friends, and perfect strangers all disguise their true faces, while they who seek connection are "transported from one great gaping / hole in the fabric / of our knowledge to another."
No passage is too dark, no garden too tangled for the troubled dreamer of Manderley. Wolff turns a quicksilver gaze on a fluid world where both the real and the imaginary are transfigured. Tempering steely candor with a sophisticated delight in wordplay, these poems turn on a dime from the sensual to the eerie, the resigned to the hopeful, the comforting to the shocking. Each poem weaves together layers of dream, remembrance, and fantasy, distilling from romantic excess a gritty, spare language of truth-telling and surprise.
My Alexandria: POEMS
Mark Doty University of Illinois Press, 1995 Library of Congress PS3554.O798M9 1993 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
This is the first cloth edition of one of the most highly praised and touching collections of poems to appear in recent years. In selecting it for the National Poetry Series, Philip Levine said: "The courage of this book is that it looks away from nothing: the miracle is that wherever it looks it finds poetry. . . . Mark Doty is a maker of big, risky, fearless poems in which ordinary human experience becomes music."
Nine Skies: POEMS
A. V. Christie University of Illinois Press, 1997 Library of Congress PS3553.H729N5 1997 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Selected by Sandra McPherson
for the 1996 National Poetry Series
The late poet James V. Dickey
was judge of the Yale Prize poetry competition when he wrote to A. V.
Christie, one of the finalists, "I have become very fond of your
poems, especially the elegiac ones. . . . Your work is heartfelt; one
believes every word of it. . . . You have given me much in-depth pleasure;
have moved me strongly."
The work in Nine Skies
is as Dickey described it--heartfelt, moving. Here is what others
say about it:
and sustained, with six or seven poems as fine as anything being written
today. This remarkable book is a rite of passage for the poet and speaks
of even better things to come." -- Elizabeth Spires
"Only the best poetry
is written this well, with this much craft and conviction. Of course the
poems are meditative and elegiac, brilliant and finely detailed, but they
are also thought through and wholly felt, so that even in their small
moments they celebrate."
-- Stanley Plumly
"A. V. Christie writes
with a Romantic's eye and a Realist's heart, so there is no sentimentality,
that sickness afflicting our age. The voice on these pages is hard-bitten,
luxuriant, and true." -- Henri Cole
"Nine Skies is
a graceful realization in each detail of elegy or celebration." --
This is the first book to celebrate the life and writing of one of the most charismatic Southern leaders of the middle twentieth century, Don West (1906-1992). West was a poet, a pioneer advocate for civil rights, a preacher, a historian, a labor organizer, a folk-music revivalist, an essayist, and an organic farmer. He is perhaps best known as an educator, primarily as cofounder of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee and founder of the Appalachian South Folklife Center in West Virginia. In his old age, West served as an elder statesman for his causes.
No Lonesome Road allows Don West to speak for himself. It provides the most comprehensive collection of his poetry ever published, spanning five decades of his literary career. It also includes the first comprehensive and annotated collection of West's nonfiction essays, articles, letters, speeches, and stories, covering his role at the forefront of Southern and Appalachian history, and as a pioneer researcher and writer on the South's little-known legacy of radical activism.
Drawing from both primary and secondary sources, including previously unknown documents, correspondence, interviews, FBI files, and newspaper clippings, the introduction by Jeff Biggers stands as the most thorough, insightful biographical sketch of Don West yet published in any form.
The afterword by George Brosi is a stirring personal tribute to the contributions of West and also serves as a thoughtful reflection on the interactions between the radicals of the 1930s and the 1960s.
The best possible introduction to his extraordinary life and work, this annotated selection of Don West's writings will be inspirational reading for anyone interested in Southern history, poetry, religion, or activism.
Corey Marks University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3563.A666R46 2000 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Renunciation introduces a powerful new poet whose work, though it treads the ground of silence and loss, bears a redemptive grace. Disquieting and healing, Corey Marks's poems hold to "a moment when possibility / bristles so close it holds a shape in the air."
The sculptor Gislebertus, Doubting Thomas, Theseus, and John Keats share space in the pages of Renunciation with a survivor of the bomb in Hiroshima, a blind girl in the South American jungle, and DeSoto's thirteen swine in the hold of a ship bound for America. Rich with almost palpable nuances of light and sound, Marks's lyric meditations unravel a constant play of loss and continuation, "mending sense from spare threads" and hovering over connections undone even as they are made.
Rhythm & Booze: POEMS
Julie Kane University of Illinois Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3611.A544R48 2003 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Arranged in four parts--each associated with a particular Louisiana city--the poems in Rhythm & Booze trace the hardships and uncertainties, as well as the moments of unexpected sublimity, of a life lived in a continuous struggle between fresh starts and destructive old patterns.
Mirroring the music of New Orleans, Kane's poems combine traditional form with improvisational flourishes. Rhythm & Booze charts her progress as she undertakes a number of journeys, from youth to experience, from blues bars to college classrooms, from city to country, from chaos to something approaching peace.
Writing in The Hudson Review,
David Mason has characterized Lorna Goodison's work as a "revelation
to me, much of it beautiful for its simple negotiation of the line between
life and art."
One of the most distinguished
contemporary poets of the Caribbean, Goodison draws on both African and
European inheritances in her finely crafted poems, which often carry a
sense of language's healing power in the face of the pain of the past.
She deals thematically with the struggle of Caribbean women and writes
in a fashion that has developed from conversational to more ritualistic.
From reviews of Goodison's
"The evocative power
of Lorna Goodison's poetry derives its urgency and appeal from the heart-and-mind
concerns she has for language, history, racial identity, and gender."
Andrew Salkey -- World Literature Today
"A marvelous poet, one
to savor and to chant aloud."
-- Pat Monaghan, Booklist
Turn Thanks: POEMS
Lorna Goodison University of Illinois Press, 1999 Library of Congress PR9265.9.G6T87 1999 | Dewey Decimal 811
The lyric energy, compassion, humor, and tenderness that characterize Lorna Goodison's work are once again in evidence in Turn Thanks, her seventh collection. Here the Jamaican poet turns to acknowledge her own ancestors and those of her craft: mother and father, aunts and uncles, Africa, William Wordsworth, Vincent Van Gogh, the Wild Woman. "Whether you will receive this letter or not I cannot tell," she writes. "Still, I intend to send it . . . "
Walt Whitman Bathing: POEMS
David Wagoner University of Illinois Press, 1996 Library of Congress PS3545.A345W35 1996 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
When David Wagoner's last
collection, Through the Forest: New and Selected Poems, was published,
Harold Bloom noted that Wagoner's "study of American nostalgias is
as eloquent and moving as that of James Wright, and like Wright's poetry
carries on some of the deepest currents in American verse." The same
could be said of Walt Whitman Bathing, in which Wagoner's poems
range from the lyric to the satiric, the elegiac to the transcendental,
the autobiographical to the visionary.
Other comments on Wagoner's
"Wagoner has the visual
acuity of his loved hawks and a lifelong absorption with living and growing
things. A lovely wit and a lively intelligence inform these poems."
-- Maxine Kumin
"When Wagoner looks at
something, he brings it to vivid and immediate life through an extraordinary
power with a simple name: love. He is as formally various as Thomas Hardy,
as playful as Dickinson, as wry as Frost." -- Dave Smith
"A sharp-eyed, even gutsy
nature poet, the deftest and tenderest of love poets, Wagoner is a verbal
magician capable of surprising, sometimes crazy tours de force."
-- X. J. Kennedy
Includes "Of History and Hope," the 1997 Presidential Inaugural Poem
When Miller Williams
read his Inaugural Poem, "Of History and Hope," to a world-wide
audience in January, his proverbial "fifteen minutes of fame"
lasted far less--somewhere between three and four minutes. That was long
enough to make a big impact on many. Said poet Paul Zimmer, one of the
millions in his viewing audience, "I came up out of my Lazy-Boy and
Williams is an
American original whose poems have been praised for both the elegance
of their style and the simplicity of their language, for their wonderful
humor and genuine passion. The works in his newest collection, The Ways We Touch, may be nostalgic or challenging, humorous or full of
moral fortitude; always Williams speaks with the kind of insight that
rises from wisdom and experience.
Praise for Williams's
Williams is one of those writers whose books drag me snorkeling happily
along. Happy as a pig among truffles, I hurry to the next treasure."
-- William Stafford
poets might well go to him for lessons in the art of speaking plainly
in disciplined lines alive with emotional energy." -- X. J. Kennedy
than almost anything else being published." -- Donald Justice
From the cannery rows of California to the sweatshops of New York, this
anthology of poems captures the drama of work and working-class life in
industrial America. It speaks of rolling mills, mine shafts, and foundries,
and of a people who dig coal, tap blast furnaces, sew shirts, clean fish,
and assemble cars. These subjects, though largely absent from literary
anthologies and textbooks, are increasingly evident in the work of contemporary
poets. Working Classics gathers the best and most representative
of these poems, American and Canadian, from 1945 to the present.
Included are poems by Antler, Robert Bly, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Jim Daniels,
Patricia Dobler, Stephen Dunn, Tess Gallagher, Edward Hirsch, David Ignatow,
June Jordan, Lawrence Joseph, Philip Levine, Chris Llewellyn, Joyce Carol
Oates, Anthony Petrosky, Michael Ryan, Gary Soto, Tom Wayman, James Wright,
and many others. The result is a diverse and evocative collection of 169
poems by 74 poets, nearly a third of them women.