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About Crows

Craig Blais

Publication Year: 2013

An unsentimental and at times disquieting first collection, the poems of About Crows excavate self, family, race, location, sex, art, and religion to uncover the artifacts of a succession of traumas that the speaker does not always experience firsthand but carries with him to refashion into some new importance. This is a book of half-states, broken affiliations, and dislocation.
            The speaker leads the reader through the fragments of a flooded town that grows increasingly elusive the more one looks for it; through a succession of Seoul "love motels" that further displace the outsider to unclaimed margins transformed into sites of creative invention; through "galleries" of artwork, where movement, color, and image are renewed through ekphrasis; and through the world of the metatextual long poem "The Cult Poem," where good and bad moral binaries tangle into a rat's nest of our best and worst spiritual ambitions.
            The poems and sequences of About Crows are marked by their artistic balance of the sublime and the profane, of polyphony, syntactical complexity, clashing images, cagey humor, and unsettling sincerity, all trying desperately to connect.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Cover

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p. c-c

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Part I. The Lost Town

About Crows

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pp. 3-5

Huffers

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p. 6-6

Sister at the Airport

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p. 7-7

Robert Frost in the Slaughterhouse

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p. 8-8

Suburban Mythopoetics

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pp. 9-10

An Alternate History of Enfield, Mass.

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pp. 11-13

When I Opened the Anthology of Poets Oppressed

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p. 14-14

The Fall of Communism

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pp. 15-16

The History of Hockey in My Town

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pp. 17-18

Five Memories of Motion

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pp. 19-22

Part II. The Beverly Hills of Korea (Or, My Life in the Love Motel)

The Beverly Hills of Korea

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pp. 25-27

All the Signs Read 어서 오세요

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p. 28-28

A River

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pp. 29-31

The Rise of Communism

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p. 32-32

Mongolia Room

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pp. 33-36

Part III. The Error Gallery

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers I

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p. 39-39

Midwinter Rains over Montréal: A Video Installation

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p. 40-40

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers II

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p. 41-41

Summertime (1943)

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p. 42-42

Scenes from a Village: A Triptych

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pp. 43-45

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Orizuru

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p. 46-46

At the kitchen table, you wince when taking a sip of the cheap red wine—telling me, in the clearest way you know, that it’s too harsh. I’m always a few steps each mistake and refold toward an already-lost perfection. In the extra minutes before arrived, my sixth grade class folded cranes to send to an imagined memorial in Japan.The assignment worked, if the purpose was to place in the mind of each child ...

After We Disembark and Spend the Day on the Island while the Ship’s Repaired, I Board Alone, Flip through a Chinese Restaurant Calendar, and Write Three Poems to Express My Feelings

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pp. 47-48

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers III

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p. 49-49

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The Madonna and Child with St. Anne

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pp. 50-52

There’s a reproduction at the entrance of the outdoor shrine where we walk the Stations Where fire ants race across the freshly lacquered legs of martyrs.“He suffered,” my grandfather says. With empty lungs: “Oh, how they made him suffer.”Jesus looks like a murderballer—his neck sunk into a muscle-bound torso, legs shriveled like they’ve been confined to a wheelchair for thirty-three years....

Self-Portrait in Shock

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p. 53-53

The Last Painting (Or, Some More about Crows)

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p. 54-54

Part IV. The Cult Poem

The Cult Poem

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pp. 57-66

Notes

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pp. 67-70


E-ISBN-13: 9780299291938
E-ISBN-10: 0299291936
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299291945
Print-ISBN-10: 0299291944

Page Count: 72
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry

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