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Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie
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summary
Winner of the 2010 Akron Poetry Prize, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie is tender anti-epic, a grunge-tinged love song to America's benighted post-industrial heartland. Harmon's Poughkeepsie shimmers just beyond the borders of banal recognition. "If you're not part of the problem, / you're part of the lengthening / tragedy," Harmon writes in an introductory pastoral, seeking out "the stray / detours and workarounds of the secret / city inside the more obvious one...on the outskirts of the absurd / attention to the material life." Poughkeepsie is that city of the heart where no one can look at anyone else "alone," where "the noise of beauty" is a cop's bullet polishing off a "traffic-struck doe," where "five dollars takes you anywhere in this town / except out of it."

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Two Pastorals
  2. p. 1
  1. The automatic garage-door opener
  2. p. 3
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  1. To Shop-Vac the sidestreet
  2. p. 4
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  1. The Poughkeepsiad
  2. pp. 5-12
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  1. Tableaux poughkeepsiens
  2. p. 13
  1. I lived in one place
  2. p. 15
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  1. Asbestos in carpet glue, beige linoleum in bedroom and
  2. p. 16
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  1. A pole saw can reach far enough one doesn’t need a
  2. p. 17
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  1. Cusp of July and August:
  2. p. 18
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  1. Thin ribbons of cloud and half a ruinous moon
  2. p. 19
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  1. Broken glass in the shape of
  2. pp. 20-21
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  1. The undercity rivers beneath cast
  2. p. 22
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  1. Does it help that the evening no
  2. p. 23
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  1. Crow-scatter engraves evening, wings beating
  2. p. 24
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  1. In a geography of service drives and sumac
  2. p. 25
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  1. Deer cross against the lights
  2. p. 26
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  1. An inquiry into more forlorn subjects neglects unsolvable
  2. p. 27
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  1. The provisional, the mostly blank implied in a twenty-year
  2. p. 28
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  1. The disheartened public
  2. p. 29
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  1. The quiet streets of meth
  2. p. 30
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  1. Can new tedium distract one
  2. p. 31
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  1. Bare-branched maples, brush
  2. p. 32
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  1. Not one, but dozens of solitary dandelions sparsely
  2. p. 33
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  1. To build a life from happy accidents
  2. p. 34
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  1. Slice of hillside
  2. p. 35
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  1. We shoot everything you want to
  2. p. 36
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  1. Still and slate-dark by four-thirty
  2. p. 37
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  1. I slept on a varnished oak floor. I slept on scar tissue and
  2. p. 38
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  1. To be freed from the burden
  2. p. 39
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  1. The house shudders in wind
  2. p. 40
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  1. Milkweed and broken sink,
  2. pp. 41-42
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  1. Only the immeasurable
  2. p. 43
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  1. Poor little Poughkeepsie,
  2. pp. 44-45
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  1. What are the pitfalls you have come to know intimately?
  2. p. 46
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  1. The quivering powerlines could be a word. A dry cleaning
  2. p. 47
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  1. I’m trying to whittle this skyline down to something
  2. p. 48
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  1. The view from basement
  2. p. 49
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  1. Seed-flecked snow
  2. pp. 50-51
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  1. It’s cinematic, the blank billboard at the edge of the
  2. p. 52
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  1. The iciest particulars: I was exhausted from waking up.
  2. p. 53
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  1. A parking
  2. p. 54
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  1. As blackened snow retreats from curb and gutter, signs
  2. p. 55
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  1. The perilous optic, 3 am in the back of an American
  2. p. 56
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  1. O springtime foliage! This city’s last slate rooftops refute
  2. p. 57
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  1. The elegance of an only focus, a trance
  2. p. 58
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  1. Children wire stuffed
  2. p. 59
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  1. Amid the last sentences of rusting
  2. p. 60
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  1. The greatest poverty is not to live
  2. p. 61
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  1. The absent tenant’s electricity is shut off for nonpayment
  2. p. 62
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  1. Hooker Avenue Serenade
  2. pp. 63-68
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  1. Recessive Variations
  2. p. 69
  1. I.
  2. pp. 71-73
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  1. II.
  2. pp. 74-75
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  1. For the Poughkeepsie Dead
  2. p. 77
  1. I.
  2. pp. 79-80
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  1. II.
  2. p. 81
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  1. III.
  2. p. 82
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  1. IV.
  2. p. 83
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  1. V.
  2. p. 84
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  1. Two Pastorals (II)
  2. p. 85
  1. White steeple, gold
  2. p. 87
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  1. Under over
  2. p. 88
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  1. L’Envoi
  2. pp. 89-91
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  1. Notes
  2. p. 93
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