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In the Permanent Collection

Stefanie Wortman

Publication Year: 2014

Trying to make sense of a disordered world, Stefanie Wortman's debut collection examines works of art as varied as casts of antique sculpture, 19th-century novels, and even scenes from reality television to investigate the versions of order that they offer. These deft poems yield moments of surprising levity even as they mount a sharp critique of human folly. "These poems seem haunted by a mostly nameless melancholia. In The Permanent Collection, however, turns its grim geography of prisons, mortuaries, and tawdry suburbs into something close to classical elegy. 'In sunken rooms,' Wortman writes, 'on scratchy rugs, maybe we’ve never known happiness.' It’s that 'maybe'—the smart hedge—that renders her poems complex, often beguiling, but never without a gesture of redemption. This should be part of any serious poet’s permanent collection."— Chad Davidson, author of The Last Predicta and judge

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Title Page, Awards, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

I

Reform, Missouri

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p. 3-3

Blind King

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pp. 4-5

New Orleans

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p. 6-6

Low Definition

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p. 7-7

Everyone Was Dead and I Went On, Drunk

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p. 8-8

The General

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p. 9-9

Weed Guide

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p. 10-10

Careless Simile

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p. 11-11

Vaudeville

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p. 12-12

Strip Mall

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p. 13-13

Long Occupation

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p. 14-14

II

Twelve Bar Blues

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p. 17-17

Recovery Coffee

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pp. 18-19

Sibling Gothic

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p. 20-20

The Transparent Fabulist

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p. 21-21

There's Something Quieter than Sleep

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p. 22-22

Family Plot

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p. 23-23

Permanent Collection

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pp. 24-25

Tell Me about the Fates

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p. 26-26

You're in the Picture

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p. 27-27

Mortuary Art

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p. 28-28

III

To My Heart

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pp. 31-32

The Zombie

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p. 33-33

Cavebunny

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p. 34-34

Tennessee Williams

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p. 35-35

Surrender

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p. 36-36

To a Friend, on Living Alone

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p. 37-37

Spring

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p. 38-38

A Story about Show Business

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p. 39-39

Star Chart

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p. 40-40

Assez Vu

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p. 41-41

Sleeping Song

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p. 42-42

IV

Lucky

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p. 45-45

Dance of Death

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pp. 46-47

Likeness

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p. 48-48

Compact Mirror

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pp. 49-50

Sight Gags

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pp. 51-52

Reasons for Living Happily

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p. 53-53

Medallion

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p. 54-54

The Gallow Ball (1950)

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p. 55-55

Spiritual Exercises

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pp. 56-58

Praise for Prize Winners

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pp. 59-56

Notes

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pp. 57-67


E-ISBN-13: 9781574415643
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574415544

Page Count: 80
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry

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