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Strings Attached

Poems by Diane DeCillis

Publication Year: 2014

In Strings Attached, poet Diane DeCillis takes inspiration from the story of the elephant calf with a thin rope tied to its leg. Even when it grows into a massive animal, the elephant thinks the same string still restrains it and never attempts to break free. This powerful, funny, and sometimes self-deprecating collection considers all the ways that strings bind us in relationships and explores their constant tightening and loosening. Although we may never sever the strings attached to our wounds, DeCillis shows that when given enough slack we can create the illusion of having been set free. The poems in Strings Attached consider tension in a variety of relationships. The short string of an American girl raised in Detroit by a resentful Lebanese grandmother whose culture values boys over girls. The attachment to a strong mother who exemplifies feminism but who is mostly absent in order to support the family. The cosmopolitan father who abandons but captivates, and the strings of relationships with older men, built on longing for the missing father. The long strings of a secret life that teach you to be distant. The strings that cuff you to your home, and the triumph of loosening them after years of agoraphobia. The frayed strings that come from being too American in a Lebanese culture. The strings of food and tradition that connect to family and friends. DeCillis’s verse reflects an insistent search for identity and the happy discovery that outsider status can be a good thing, a kind of earned badge that provides new ways of seeing. All poetry readers will relate to the personal and perceptive verse of this debut collection.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Made in Michigan Writers Series

Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xi

Quote

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pp. xii-xii

I

Margin of Error

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pp. 3-3

The Myth of Father

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pp. 4-5

As Pressing Is to Flowers

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pp. 6-7

In a Dream My Skin

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pp. 8-8

Still Life Flowering

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pp. 9-9

The Way You Look

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pp. 10-11

Seeing Like Cézanne

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pp. 12-12

View from a Room, NYC

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pp. 13-13

Fugitive Laughter

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pp. 14-14

Quiet Rooms

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pp. 15-15

Agoraphobia Contrapuntal

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pp. 16-16

Finding Fathers

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pp. 17-18

Postcards of Home and Homesick

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pp. 19-20

Childhood Revisited as a Musical

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pp. 21-21

Dreams of My Father

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pp. 22-22

Lost on the Champs-Élysées

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pp. 23-23

La Vie en Gris

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pp. 24-24

Reconsidering Yellow

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pp. 25-26

When You Cannot Sleep

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pp. 27-28

Foreboding Frog

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pp. 29-29

Physics for Dummies

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pp. 30-31

Mr. Right

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pp. 32-32

Falling in Love at the Speed of the William Tell “Overture”

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pp. 33-33

An Orgasm Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

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pp. 34-35

Punch Drunk Love

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pp. 36-36

Touching the Wound

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pp. 37-37

Last Night I Dreamed I Stole the Croissants

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pp. 38-39

Power of Suggestion

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pp. 40-40

Happy-Go-Lucky

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pp. 41-41

To Lean

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pp. 42-42

Thinking about What Matters

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pp. 43-44

II

Milk

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pp. 47-48

Without Child

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pp. 49-49

Room Full of Children Staring at Me

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pp. 50-51

The Grammar of Memory

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pp. 52-52

Arranged Marriage

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pp. 53-54

Yellow According to Rilke

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pp. 55-55

Artemesia Absinthium

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pp. 56-56

Weeping Women

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pp. 57-58

Cubist Still Life

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pp. 59-59

Origami Pantoum

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pp. 60-60

Looking for Stephen Dunn

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pp. 61-61

Body Language

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pp. 62-63

Lee Miller’s Father

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pp. 64-64

Phantom Limbs

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pp. 65-66

Nest

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pp. 67-68

Creation of Birds

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pp. 69-69

Magritte’s Mother’s Nightgown

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pp. 70-70

A Day at the Lake with Gertrude Stein

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pp. 71-71

Defitato

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pp. 72-73

Fish Feel Pain

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pp. 74-75

When Chefs Have Nightmares

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pp. 76-77

Ingratiating the Monster

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pp. 78-78

What Would Hitchcock Do?

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pp. 79-80

Missing Ingredients

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pp. 81-82

Grape Leaves

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pp. 83-84

The Meaning of Life

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pp. 85-85

How to Fall Gently from the Precarious Pedestal

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pp. 86-87

The Botanist and Her Amaryllis

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pp. 88-88

To Be Fed

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pp. 89-89

Baklava Killed My Father

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pp. 90-92

Music from Another Room

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pp. 93-93

Strings Attached

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pp. 94-94


E-ISBN-13: 9780814340141
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814340134

Page Count: 108
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Made in Michigan Writers Series
See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 884534587
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Strings Attached