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Taking its title from an Audubon painting, American Flamingo shares with the artist an exquisite attention to detail and the suggestion of a larger sense of time and place through depictions of the intimate interactions between creatures and their habitats. In his fifth collection of poetry, Greg Pape melds memorable images from the natural world with the drama of ordinary experience to capture small transformations of human character in American settings from Arizona’s Sonora Desert to the icy streets of Washington, D.C. Through elegies, character sketches, and lyric and narrative evocations of family and place, Pape offers lucid and startling poems that bridge the spaces between the past and the present, men and women, and urban and rural landscapes.
Each portion forming a reduced-size copy of the whole, a fractal is forever fragmented, both chaotic and ordered, endlessly complex. Timothy Green's American Fractal sees this pattern emerge from the fabric of modern culture, as it navigates the personal, the political, and the metaphysical, in a lyric dreamscape in which an eerie chaos lurks just behind the facade of order--where "what looks like / a river...could be a log," "as if accident were / the fundamental attribute of life." In separate poems, one man sells ad space on his forehead, while another examines the multitudes of his own voice on an audio cassette recorder. Each life is but another section of the fractal, the past and the future two mirrors that face each other to perpetuate the illusion of infinites. At turns evocative and sweetly ironic, Green straddles the line between accessibility and complexity, exploring "how the wind whispers our secrets," how "that little tremor" of understanding "touches your sleeve, lets go."
Emerson, Whitman, and the New Poetry
"The transmigration of souls is no fable. I would it were, but men and women are only half human." With these words, Ralph Waldo Emerson confronts a dilemma that illuminates the formation of American individualism: to evolve and become fully human requires a heightened engagement with history. Americans, Emerson argues, must realize history's chronology in themselves--because their own minds and bodies are its evolving record. Whereas scholarship has tended to minimize the mystical underpinnings of Emerson's notion of the self, his depictions of "the metempsychosis of nature" reveal deep roots in mystical traditions from Hinduism and Buddhism to Platonism and Christian esotericism. In essay after essay, Emerson uses metempsychosis as an open-ended template to understand human development. In Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman transforms Emerson's conception of metempsychotic selfhood into an expressly poetic event. His vision of transmigration viscerally celebrates the poet's ability to assume and live in other bodies; his American poet seeks to incorporate the entire nation into his own person so that he can speak for every man and woman.
Pitt Poetry Series Anthology
American Poetry Now is a comprehensive collection of the best work from the renowned Pitt Poetry Series. Since its inception in 1967, the series has been a vehicle for America's finest contemporary poets. The series list includes Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Toi Derricotte, Denise Duhamel, Lynn Emanuel, Bob Hicok, Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Ted Kooser, Larry Levis, Sharon Olds, Alicia Suskin Ostriker, Virgil Suárez, Afaa Michael Weaver, David Wojahn, Dean Young, and many others.
David Roderick’s second book, The Americans, pledges its allegiance to dirt. And to laptops. And to swimming pools, the Kennedys, a flower in a lapel, plastic stars hanging from the ceiling of a child’s room, churning locusts, a jar of blood, a gleam of sun on the wing of a plane. His poems swarm with life. They also ask an unanswerable question: What does it mean to be an American? Restless against the borders we build—between countries, between each other—Roderick roams from place to place in order to dig into the messy, political, idealistic and ultimately inexplicable idea of American-ness. His rangy, inquisitive lyrics stitch together a patchwork flag, which he stakes alongside all the noise of our construction, our obsessive building and making, while he imagines the fate of a nation built on desire.
In two intertwined songs, a feminist epic poem and a dreamlike opera libretto, Among the Goddesses traces one woman’s harrowing mythological journey of discovery. Tutored by encounters with seven Goddesses, both frightening and nurturing, Marie/Lily is tested by loss, rape, and abortion as she finds her community and her spiritual strength. This magical book embodies the goddesses in every woman and gives voice to the power of the feminist spirituality movement.
Charles Harper Webb’s eccentric and distinct writing style makes this collection of poetry a funny and charmingly memorable read. A melting pot of pop culture, historical references, and everyday life, Webb’s poems are refreshingly candid and straightforward.