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Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie

By Joshua Harmon

Publication Year: 2011

Winner of the 2010 Akron Poetry Prize, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie is tender anti-epic, a grunge-tinged love song to America's benighted post-industrial heartland. Harmon's Poughkeepsie shimmers just beyond the borders of banal recognition. "If you're not part of the problem, / you're part of the lengthening / tragedy," Harmon writes in an introductory pastoral, seeking out "the stray / detours and workarounds of the secret / city inside the more obvious one...on the outskirts of the absurd / attention to the material life." Poughkeepsie is that city of the heart where no one can look at anyone else "alone," where "the noise of beauty" is a cop's bullet polishing off a "traffic-struck doe," where "five dollars takes you anywhere in this town / except out of it."

Published by: The University of Akron Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Two Pastorals

The automatic garage-door opener

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pp. 3-

To Shop-Vac the sidestreet

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pp. 4-

The Poughkeepsiad

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pp. 5-12

Tableaux poughkeepsiens

I lived in one place

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pp. 15-

Asbestos in carpet glue, beige linoleum in bedroom and

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pp. 16-

A pole saw can reach far enough one doesn’t need a

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pp. 17-

Cusp of July and August:

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pp. 18-

Thin ribbons of cloud and half a ruinous moon

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pp. 19-

Broken glass in the shape of

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pp. 20-21

The undercity rivers beneath cast

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pp. 22-

Does it help that the evening no

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pp. 23-

Crow-scatter engraves evening, wings beating

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pp. 24-

In a geography of service drives and sumac

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pp. 25-

Deer cross against the lights

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pp. 26-

An inquiry into more forlorn subjects neglects unsolvable

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pp. 27-

The provisional, the mostly blank implied in a twenty-year

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pp. 28-

The disheartened public

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pp. 29-

The quiet streets of meth

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pp. 30-

Can new tedium distract one

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pp. 31-

Bare-branched maples, brush

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pp. 32-

Not one, but dozens of solitary dandelions sparsely

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pp. 33-

To build a life from happy accidents

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pp. 34-

Slice of hillside

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pp. 35-

We shoot everything you want to

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pp. 36-

Still and slate-dark by four-thirty

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pp. 37-

I slept on a varnished oak floor. I slept on scar tissue and

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pp. 38-

To be freed from the burden

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pp. 39-

The house shudders in wind

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pp. 40-

Milkweed and broken sink,

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pp. 41-42

Only the immeasurable

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pp. 43-

Poor little Poughkeepsie,

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pp. 44-45

What are the pitfalls you have come to know intimately?

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pp. 46-

The quivering powerlines could be a word. A dry cleaning

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pp. 47-

I’m trying to whittle this skyline down to something

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pp. 48-

The view from basement

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pp. 49-

Seed-flecked snow

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pp. 50-51

It’s cinematic, the blank billboard at the edge of the

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pp. 52-

The iciest particulars: I was exhausted from waking up.

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pp. 53-

A parking

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pp. 54-

As blackened snow retreats from curb and gutter, signs

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pp. 55-

The perilous optic, 3 am in the back of an American

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pp. 56-

O springtime foliage! This city’s last slate rooftops refute

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pp. 57-

The elegance of an only focus, a trance

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pp. 58-

Children wire stuffed

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pp. 59-

Amid the last sentences of rusting

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pp. 60-

The greatest poverty is not to live

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pp. 61-

The absent tenant’s electricity is shut off for nonpayment

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pp. 62-

Hooker Avenue Serenade

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pp. 63-68

Recessive Variations

II.

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pp. 74-75

For the Poughkeepsie Dead

Two Pastorals (II)

White steeple, gold

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pp. 87-

Under over

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pp. 88-

L’Envoi

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pp. 89-91

Notes

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pp. 93-


E-ISBN-13: 9781937378073
E-ISBN-10: 1937378071
Print-ISBN-13: 9781931968928
Print-ISBN-10: 1931968926

Page Count: 93
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Akron Series in Poetry
Series Editor Byline: Mary Biddinger, Editor

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