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Death of a Ventriloquist

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

Publication Year: 2012

This debut collection includes love songs and prayers, palinodes and pleas, short histories and tragic tales as well as a series of ventriloquist poems that track the epiphanies and consequences of speaking in a voice other than one’s own. Other poems speak to a Beloved and the highs and lows of parenthood and personhood—all with music and verve, with formal dexterity, with sadness and humor, with an intimate voice that can both whisper in our ears and grab us by the collar and implore us to listen. “What drives the poems in this wonderfully animated debut volume and prompts the reader’s pleasure in them is the patent honesty of the poet’s voice. In the ‘ventriloquist’ series itself, Fay-LeBlanc creates a remarkable refracted self-portrait, bristling with moments of unabashed illumination.”—Eamon Grennan, author of Out of Sight

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

1

Rider Unhorsed

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p. 3-3

On Leaving Home

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p. 4-4

Guide

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p. 5-5

The Largest of the Circus Animals

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p. 6-6

Oakland Work Crew

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p. 7-7

Worry Bone

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p. 8-8

Notes on Thirty Years in the Life of a Ventriloquist

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pp. 9-13

The End of Reading

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pp. 14-15

Learning to Wait

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p. 16-16

Inspiration

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pp. 17-18

American Beech

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p. 19-19

Ventriloquist on an Off-Day

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p. 20-20

2

Panic Grass and Feverfew

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p. 23-23

Phaëton

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p. 24-24

Ventriloquist on the Moor

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p. 25-25

Still Life, Young Woman at the Water’s Edge

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p. 26-26

Park City Grille

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p. 27-27

A Brief History of the Decline

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pp. 28-31

The Origin of Pigeons

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p. 32-32

One of the Dummies at Night

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pp. 33-34

3

Explanation Beginning with a River

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p. 37-37

Maker

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p. 38-38

Wildflowers of North America

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p. 39-39

Self-Portrait as a Word Ending in E

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p. 40-40

Notes on Colic

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pp. 41-43

How to Make Fatherhood Lyrical

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pp. 44-45

Music in My Head

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p. 46-46

Death of a Ventriloquist

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pp. 47-48

4

Proof #4

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p. 51-51

Visiting Chicago

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p. 52-52

Four Planes of Experience

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pp. 53-59

Rattling Funicular

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pp. 60-61

Caravaggio’s Peter

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p. 62-62

The Prayer of Glass

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pp. 63-65

Disabused Sonnet

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p. 66-66

The Perhaps World

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p. 67-67

Pull

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pp. 68-69

The Worst First Line

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pp. 70-71

More Matter, Less Art

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p. 72-72

The Nots

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pp. 73-74

Notes

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pp. 75-85


E-ISBN-13: 9781574414554
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574414479

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Fatherhood -- Poetry.
  • Ventriloquists -- Poetry.
  • Ventriloquism -- Poetry.
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