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Inverse Sky

John Isles

Publication Year: 2008

Part Baudelairian flâneur, an Arcadian shepherd, the speaker in John Isles’s brave new Inverse Sky encounters a fragmented history. It is nineteenth-century California, and the missions are still burning after the Americans establish the Bear Flag Republic; it is the twenty-first century, and the miners of 49 are relegated to a mural in an arcade. Both a loner and a lover, Isles’s pilgrim-poet takes us on a journey where Native Americans are “missing persons” outside a diorama of their ancestors, then sets us adrift in settings ranging from film noir to the clear-cut hills of modern-day California landscapes, under siege but not defeated.
     Inverse Sky evokes the paradigm of a shocked and disbelieving child dealing with a broken promise, yet the poems carry within themselves the knowledge that promises will be kept. The only response to broken promises is “to come undone / to come and go in a single breath.” But this is a beginning as well as an end. Each poem becomes a new world—for if there is anything on earth worth loving, it is something made with the world as it has been handed down to us. Inverse Sky is an insistent effort to "love the things not loving back.”

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Thanks to the editors and readers of the following magazines in which some of these poems first appeared, sometimes in different forms: American Letters and Commentary..

Part 1

Lighthouse

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p. 3-3

Putting the Bird Back in the Sky

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p. 4-4

Arcade

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p. 5-5

Cinema Verité

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p. 7-7

Missing Persons

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p. 8-8

Mission Statement

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p. 9-9

My Comfortress of Unsuccess (Mary Austen)

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p. 10-10

Course in Empire

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p. 11-11

Islarios

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p. 12-12

Flâneur

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p. 13-13

Nocturne

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p. 14-14

Cosmos

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p. 15-15

City of Our Making

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p. 16-16

Part 2

The Uncertainty Pastoral

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p. 19-19

Desperate Tender

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pp. 20-22

Dark Pastoral

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p. 23-23

Send My Roots Rain

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pp. 24-28

Notes toward a Social Realism

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pp. 29-30

Sidereal Messengers

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pp. 31-32

Gospel, According to This Very Moment

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pp. 33-34

Part 3

The Arcadia Negotiations

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pp. 37-44

Part 4

The Next Loneliness

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pp. 47-48

I Know If I Find You I Will Have to Leave the Earth

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pp. 49-51

For the World’s Great Economies

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p. 52-52

The Hunger

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p. 53-53

Night Vision

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p. 54-54

Evangelical Economics

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p. 55-55

Diorama with a 20-Watt Bulb Inside

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p. 56-56

And When I Waked I Cried to Dream Again

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pp. 57-58

The Eden Archives

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pp. 59-60

Notes

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p. 61-61

Kuhl House Poets

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p. 62-62


E-ISBN-13: 9781587297274
E-ISBN-10: 1587297272
Print-ISBN-13: 9781587296864
Print-ISBN-10: 1587296861

Page Count: 72
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: paper
Series Title: Kuhl House Poets

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