Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-3

Paul Ruffin is Texas State University System Regents’ Professor, Distinguished Professor of English at Sam Houston State University, and the 2009 Texas State Poet Laureate. In addition, he is a well-known author, not well-known as in a finalist on...

I.Poems from Lighting the Furnace Pilot (1980)

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pp. 5-19

Lighting the Furnace Pilot

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p. 6

Cleaning the Well

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pp. 7-8

Deep-Sea Fishing

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p. 9

Calf in an Abandoned Well

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p. 10

Hotel Fire: New Orleans

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p. 11

After the Fire at the Old Folks Home

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p. 12

To a Student on the Front Row

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p. 13

To Patsy: Tenth Grade

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p. 14

Pompeii

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p. 15

The Practice Is Over, Tom Hardy

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p. 16

To the Twenty-First Century

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p. 17

Trimming a Tree at Forty

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p. 18

The High School English Teacher Retires

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p. 19

II. Poems from Circling (1996)

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pp. 20-45

Jody Walker: The First Voice

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p. 21

Frozen Over

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p. 22

Circling

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pp. 23-24

Gigging Frogs

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p. 25

Batting Rocks

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p. 26

Burying

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p. 27

Sawdust Pile

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p. 28

Llano Estacado: The Naming

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p. 29

Drought

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p. 30

Root-Pruning

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p. 31

The Storm Cellar

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p. 32

Winter Trout

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p. 33

Redfish

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p. 34

When We Heard the Learned Astronomer Explain the Theory of the Exploding Universe

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p. 35

Fever

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p. 36

Dressing Up

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p. 37

My Son at Communion

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p. 38

Buddy Philosophizes after Cutting the Bull

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p. 39

Shucking Oysters, or Fishing for Metaphors

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pp. 40-41

Explaining to My Daughter How a Poem Begins

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p. 42

The Seine

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p. 43

Shrimping

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pp. 44-45

III. Poems from The Book of Boys and Girls (2003)

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pp. 46-64

At the Ruins

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p. 47

Nasty Notes at the Academic Conference

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p. 48

Returning to the Luxapalila

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pp. 49-50

The Mystery for the Magus

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p. 51

The Woman Who Made Love on Frost’s Grave

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p. 52

The Female Cousins Teach a Thanksgiving Lesson

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pp. 53-54

The Animal at the Zoo Speaks of His Keeper

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pp. 55-56

To the Celibate

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p. 57

Nesting

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p. 58

Coronado Heights

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p. 59

The Woman and Blood

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p. 60

The Leopard Muses on His Spots

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p. 61

Redneck with Hair on His Back

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p. 62

The Old Game: Boy in Training

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p. 63

He Spins His Tires

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p. 64

IV. New Poems (2009)

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pp. 65-82

Larry the Lawn Chair Man

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pp. 66-67

Eagle Girl

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p. 68

When the Mummy Became a Mommy

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pp. 69-70

Why Amelia Went Down

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pp. 71-72

A Glimpse of the Stone Age, According to Mack Dryden

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pp. 73-75

In 999 Erikson Sailed the Ocean Brine...The Discovery

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pp. 76-77

To an Uncommon Prostitute

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p. 78

Diver off Florida Coast Sexually Assaulted by 300-Pound Turtle

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pp. 79-80

Eating Chicken Backs

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pp. 81-82

Acknowledgments

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p. 83

About the Author

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p. 85