University of Pittsburgh Press

Pitt Poetry Series

Ed Ochester

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

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Blowout

Denise Duhamel

In Blowout, Denise Duhamel asks the same question that Frankie Lyman & the Teenagers asked back in 1954—"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" Duhamel's poems readily admit that she is a love-struck fool, but also embrace the "crazy wisdom" of the Fool of the Tarot deck and the fool as entertainer or jester. From a kindergarten crush to a failed marriage and beyond, Duhamel explores the nature of romantic love and her own limitations. She also examines love through music, film, and history—Michelle and Barak Obama's inauguration and Cleopatra's ancient sex toy. Duhamel chronicles the perilous cruelties of love gone awry, but also reminds us of the compassion and transcendence in the aftermath. In "Having a Diet Coke with You," she asserts that "love poems are the most difficult poems to write / because each poem contains its opposite its loss / and that no matter how fierce the love of a couple / one of them will leave the other / if not through betrayal / then through death." Yet, in Blowout, Duhamel fiercely and foolishly embraces the poetry of love.

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The Book of Life

Alicia Suskin Ostriker

“A Song of Songs, which is not Solomon’s but Alicia Ostriker’s. A great age-old hymn to life, to flesh, to memory, is revised again on these pages, with gusto, with passion, with clarity, with eros, with grief. If there is God, it is the mourner’s or the mystic’s God; if there is faith, it is the faith in our future. This is gorgeous poetry, as Jewish as it is universal.” —Ilya Kaminsky

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The Book of Seventy

Alicia Suskin Ostriker

Poems that explore the territory of advancing age—its tragicomedies, its passions, its engagement with the world. Winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

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The Book of Ten

Susan Wood

“Sometimes your car breaks down in front of a gas station, and sometimes it doesn’t. Susan Wood works the lonely stretch of road that connects these two possibilities. It seems as though it’s always night in these beautiful, haunting poems, but Wood lights the landscape with her vision, her intelligence, and the fierceness of her love for everything human.”—David Kirby

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Boy with Thorn

by Rickey Laurentiis

In a landscape at once the brutal American South as it is the brutal mind, Boy with Thorn interrogates the genesis of all poetic creation—the imagination itself, questioning what role it plays in both our fascinations with and repulsion from a national history of racial and sexual violence. The personal and political crash into one language here, gothic as it is supple, meditating on visual art and myth, to desire, the practice of lynching and Hurricane Katrina. Always at its center, though, is the poet himself—confessing a double song of pleasure and inevitable pain.

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Brain Camp

by Charles Harper Webb

Powered by a fierce, compassionate intelligence, Brain Camp explores with clarity and vividness a wide spectrum of emotions—love to hate, tenderness to brutality—all from a perspective both universal yet distinctly Webb's. Metaphors of startling aptness and originality, a voice at once endearing and provocative, high musicality, propulsive energy, wild imaginative leaps, as well as a mastery of diction from lyricism to street-speak, create a reading experience of the first order. These poems go down easy, but pack a wallop. As Robert Frost said poetry should do, Brain Camp "begins in delight and ends in wisdom."

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Bringing the Shovel Down

Ross Gay

Bringing the Shovel Down is a re-imagination of the violent mythologies of state and power.

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Burn and Dodge

Sharon Dolin

Burn and Dodge is a collection of poems that “burns” with contemporary vices such as: Guilt, Envy, Regret, and Indecision while also “dodging” such concerns with formal playfulness.

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Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

by Ross Gay

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is a sustained meditation on that which goes away—loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it—that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. That is, this is a book that studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted into what might, with patience, nourish us.

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Chapel of Inadvertent Joy

by Jeffrey McDaniel

“Reading Jeffrey McDaniel’s gorgeously dark and utterly compelling Chapel of Inadvertent Joy reminds me that he is probably the most important poet in America. The book in your hands was written by a master of metaphor and a poet of huge imagination and fierce ingenuity, a fine antidote to realism. Get this voice in your head.”—Major Jackson

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