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A literary comedy of manners set in a fictitious island nation in the South Pacific, somewhere between the Japan and Indonesia. It tells the story of a vacationing Asian-American journalist, Benjamin Inoue, who gets swept up into a cascading chain of events and who becomes the campaign manager of a buffoonish and megalomaniac island scion who is running against his younger brother for presidency of the small and forgotten island. Along the way, he becomes ensnared in a progression of dubious and absurdist events orchestrated by dubious and unreliable characters, all of which have their own hidden and conflicting agenda that they force Ben into serving.
As a writer of drama and short fiction, Edwards’ first collection of poetry is influenced by the character sketches of her earlier prose works, while maintaining a strong sense of lyricism. Like her influences, Sharon Olds, Rainer Rilke, and Sylvia Plath, Edwards’ poetry derives force from its candor and observational simplicity. A Kentucky native, Edwards continues in the tradition of great pastoral voices such as Robert Frost, drawing from his metaphorical, lyric and structural paradigms. Reading The Farmer’s Daughter evokes fields of space, filled with light and soft shadows.
These poems come from a place of separation. They are written by an exile who is a father. We hear the deaths of brother and wife, the juxtaposition of cradle and casket, the burial shovel with the baby bottle. It is American to look forward with roots backward. To embrace the country that supported the oppression of one's homeland. All this Majid Naficy does with the paired down lucid crafted language of a poet who speaks slowly and clearly, who evince surprise at being alive.
In Fault, Katharine Coles continues to explore her abiding interest in the intersections of science, culture, and history, but the book is perhaps best described as an extended meditation on love. Ranging across time and continents, Coles addresses such figures as Newton, Kepler, and Vesalius, not only with intellectual rigor but also with humor, intimacy, and buoyant optimism that render her subjects—the figures and the science—accessible within the capacious intellectual, emotional, and physical landscapes of the poems.
"Pearson's poetry astonishes— her range is wide and profound. She explores the loss, the mundane, and quirkiness of life with passionate joy. Her skillful images and wry tone linger, encouraging you to reread her poems— to put yourself inside her poems, inside the very essence of what it means to be woman, to be human. A stunning and highly enjoyable collection!" —Jewell Rhodes
Using Hollywood screenplay structure to illustrate a life in three acts, eighteen scenes, each with two poems as mirrors to action, filmmaker/poet Lawrence Bridges sequences through tragicomic plot twists and subplots to create a character-driven, novel-like book of lyric poems. An unnamed protagonist is torn from a lover, torn from himself, in perpetual transition while starting a new family, surrounded by a lively array of colleagues and friends as his career implodes, asserting his autonomy only to become part of life's "conspiracies." Strangers shift around him in a murky world beyond his control, a world with signs of indeterminacy and happenstance: Restaurant patrons smile innocently while thieves quietly rob, a death pact is used to escape a lover, disguised signals from space aliens announce that our enemies are now their allies. How do you tie up loose ends when characters we like are actually the bad guys? Bridges prods us to answer the main question: Can a man love as his world spells farewell? A unique, delightful read—an invitation to explore something new in what may be a new genre fusing some of the elements of screenplay with poetry. Today is already yesterday to tomorrow, in Flip Days.
The poems in Future Ship are largely autobiographical in the sense that they are based on personal experiences from childhood and adolescence when the personality is still in a molten form and being shaped by events and experiences that leave a lasting mark on the adult sensibility. The term "autobiographical" is slightly misleading, as any poet knows personal material exists to be molded and transformed according to the needs of the poem. So imagination is the midwife of the past, and whatever actually happened is colored by time, memory, and the exigencies of art. In order to access material which is essentially narrative in nature, and produce poetry rather than short fiction, it was necessary to adopt a form that allowed for flexibility both spacious enough to allow the narrative to develop, yet controlled enough to create some tension in the lines. So the form of alternating long lines with short lines was adopted to answer this requirement. The short lines are lines themselves, and not indented phrases clipped off the ends of the longer lines in order to fit into the marginal format of the page. After allowing the narrative to stretch out in the longer lines, the short lines are meant to act as pivots, or fulcrums, that propel the reader on to the each next long line. They are also meant to supply pauses, breathing spaces, in the extended narrative carried by the longer lines. Other poems in Future Ship are more traditional in lineation, but all the poems, in one way or another, are meant to serve the main theme of how the past informs the present, which then points directly toward the future the trope being a ship that arrives finally to voyage away containing all the accumulated facts, events, and characters that have marked a life. So the self is imagined as a kind of ark, bearing a lifetime's experiences into the future. One hopes, of course, that the closer one gets to personal experience if it is real and honestly felt the more it will become universal and represent, in some way, the experience of others.