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Illinois Poetry Series

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American Ghost Roses

Kevin Stein

In his first book as the poet laureate of Illinois, Kevin Stein shoulders an array of poetic forms, blending pathos, humor, and social commentary. These poems--ranging from meditative narratives to improvisational lyrics--explore art's capacity to embody as well as express contemporary culture. Stein embraces subjects as various as his father's death, magazine sex surveys, Kandinsky's theory of art, the dangling modifier, Jimi Hendrix's flaming guitar, racial bigotry, and a teacher's comments on a botched poem. Presiding over this miscellany are ghosts of a peculiarly American garden of dreamers and beloved misfits, those redeemed and those left fingering the locked gate._x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B_

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Arts of a Cold Sun

Poems

In these poems, G. E. Murray blends the colors of the soul with those of the world it brushes up against, exploring the ways in which art, both as possession and possessor, informs perception._x000B_Viewing his subjects sometimes from airplane altitude, sometimes from the intimacy of a shared restaurant table, Murray crafts true stories about color,? narratives of dislocation and belonging that invite readers to question their own relationship to art._x000B_Included in this volume is a long sequential poem titled The Seconds,? which Murray composed across the second days of thirteen months. The rhythms of this diary-as-poem seize the tensions of shifting times and locales, capturing the essences of moments that are at once chosen and arbitrary._x000B_Codes toward an Incidental City,? the sequence that closes the book, is a confederacy of forty poems that delve into the concrete familiarities and mythologies of urban landscapes, illuminating the ecstasies of city life._x000B_

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Barter

Poems

Ira Sadoffs new volume of poems opens with a quotation from Rilke: But because truly being here is so much; because everything here / apparently needs us, the fleeting world, which in some strange way / keeps calling us. . . .? The poetry collected here is a response to this call. _x000B_Rooted firmly in the fleeting world,? Sadoffs poems find epiphanies of meaning in unexpected and even unpleasant experiences and emotions. The poems in Barter delve deeply into the past, the personal past of regret, travel, love, divorce, and bereavement, as well as the global past of Beethoven, Vietnam, and the fall of communism. Each poem is offered up by Sadoff as a barter, something to be traded for a little more time, a little more understanding._x000B_The poems in Barter comment on the power of culture to interject itself into our desire for an idealized self, the way our inner and outer lives lack correspondence, harmony, and integration. They also talk about commerce, the trading of bodies, the way we as a nation use? and exchange and appropriate -- and like Tolstoys Ivan Ilyich, try to bargain with and evade the urgency of our time on earth._x000B_In the poem Self-Portrait with a Critic,? Sadoff makes what could be a succinct statement of purpose: And inside, lets not make it pretty, / lets save the off-rhyme and onomatopoeia / / for the concert hall, lets go to the wormy place / where the problematic stirs inside his head.?_x000B_

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Controlling the Silver

Lorna Goodison

Renowned poet Lorna Goodison has written a new collection of elegies and praise songs which explore the close link between history and genealogy in the Caribbean experience. Her subjects range from the economic genius of market women to the complex beauty of the natural world. _x000B__x000B_

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A Deed to the Light

Poems by Jeanne Murray Walker

In A Deed To the Light Jeanne Murray Walker asks probing questions about the depth of grief, about letting go, and about the possibility of faith. Her poems have been described by John Taylor, writing in Poetry, as "splendid, subtly erudite, uplifting, and funny." _x000B_

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The Disappearing Trick

Len Roberts

In The Disappearing Trick, Len Roberts wrestles with the loss of loved ones--whether that loss be through death, a son moving away to college, or simply how people fade from our lives and memories. Hybrids of the narrative and lyric form, these poems are models of indirect statement that have, as Sharon Olds has said, emotional courage, powerful music, and a deep balance.? Like the light shining on a face, or a girls thigh back in a sixth-grade class, the poems often come as Proustian flashes--lasting just a second, but seeming eternal--amid an increasing darkness. _x000B_

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Good Morning and Good Night

David Wagoner

By continually discovering what's new in each day without forgetting yesterday's surprises, David Wagoner has succeeded in constantly expanding his range in a career that spans more than fifty years. In Good Morning and Good Night, this range includes his usual rich forays into nature and personalities, and poetry for all ages, young and old, amidst a vivid array of memories and explorations. Readers will find homages to the poets that have inspired him, as well as the bountiful lyricism that has made Wagoner's poetry one of our most enduring sources of delight and joy._x000B_Good Morning and Good Night features poems previously published in American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, Atlantic Monthly, Hudson Review, The Kenyon Review, New Letters, The New Republic, Poetry, Shenandoah, Southern Review, The Yale Review, and other leading literary journals._x000B__x000B_

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The Hollow Log Lounge

Poems

This is no fairy tale. / It's all fantastic and bizarre and true. / It's my life, a raspy song, that sounds better if you sing along._x000B__x000B_The men and women who live and work near Opelika, Alabama, gather at the Hollow Log Lounge. There, under the watchful eye of the stuffed fox behind the bar, they unload their gripes and worries, tell their stories, argue, joke, commune, complain, and confess. _x000B__x000B_In this collection of poems, R. T. Smith paints a vividly imagined portrait of the community in this small-town bar, capturing the chorus of the patrons' voices echoing off the knotted wood-paneled walls. Smith's stand-in, Sam Buckhannon, scribbles stories heard and overheard as tongues loosened by liquor spin out monologues in which southern idiom and vernacular seem perfectly at home within the constraints of measured verse.

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Immortal Sofa

Maura Stanton

In accessible poems full of rich detail and painterly images, Maura Stanton looks under the surface of the ordinary, hoping to find the magic spark below the visible. In poems both humorous and elegaic, she gathers strange facts, odd events, and overlooked stories to construct her own vision of immortality, one made up of fragments of history and geography and the illusions of yearning human beings. From elephants in Ceylon to Nazi prisoners in Ireland, from Beowulf to Jane Austen, from sonnets to prose poems to blank verse, Immortal Sofa conjures our complex existence in all its sorrowful but astonishing variety.

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In the Black Window

New and Selected Poems

Michael Van Walleghen

The title of Michael Van Walleghen's new collection evokes thematic preoccupations that have shadowed him throughout his long career. Appearing as a phrase in the poems themselves, In the Black Window more generally points to Van Walleghen's enduring interest in the intersection between inner and outer worlds of experience--those liminal moments in other worlds where we become aware of ourselves. We live at once in a strictly personal, material dimension but also in a distinctly spiritual one. Yet, when looking from a lighted kitchen into a night-black window on a winter evening, we might perhaps become suddenly aware not only of our own reflection, but also of our complicity in some deeper mystery altogether.

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