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The Incentive of the Maggotby Ron Slate
Synopses & Reviews
In his prize-winning debut collection, Ron Slate seeks out the intersections of art, technology, and humanity with intelligence, wit, and fervor. His unique voice is informed by his world travels as a business executive. As Robert Pinsky writes in his introduction, Slate brings together the personal and the global in a way that is distinctive, subtle, defying expectations about what is political and what is personal.” In Slate's words, "Is this the end of the world? / No just the end / of the language that describes it." Recently published in The New Yorker, Slate has been praised by James Longenbach for his ability to make the known world seem wickedly strange — a poetry that is utterly of the moment, our moment, because it sounds like nobody else.”
"One might think that a collection beginning with a poem called 'Writing Off Argentina' can only go downhill, but such is not the case in this sustained, terrific debut from Slate, who combines a great novelist's merciless eye for class stratification with a practiced poet's feel for judicious detail, emotional valences and how to power a line. The 50-something COO of a biotech firm outside of Boston, Slate writes on the scale of the Wall Street Journal, making clear at every turn how the lives and feelings we call our own extend forward and backward into larger political and economic systems and lives of people one doesn't know. He finds those systems often as corrupt and brutalizing on the top (where most of the poems take place) as they are at the bottom: 'First, understanding the loss. Then,// understanding there's nothing to be done./ I understand and I love my odorous coat// and Esteban made me a jacket as well/ at a price not to be believed.' Slate's closest poetic analogue is probably Frederick Seidel, but Slate's ironies are less nihilistic, as well as simultaneously more bemused and engaged. For smart, snarky, sad and elegantly crafted commentary on global capital, its history and its personality, look no further." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
RON SLATE's previous collection, The Incentive of the Maggot, was chosen by Robert Pinsky to receive the 2004 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Poetry Prize. Slate's poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Three Penny Review, and TriQuarterly. He holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University and, after working in business communications for many years, he was chief operating officer of a life sciences start-up and recently launched a social network for family caregivers. He lives in Milton, MA with his wife.
Table of Contents
CONTENTS Foreword by Robert Pinsky viii I.
Writing Off Argentina 3 The Final Call 6 Belgium 8 Small Talk in Munich 10 The Demise of Camembert 12 Crow Menace in Tokyo 14 End of the Peacock Throne 16 Astride the Meridian 18 The Plan for Cyprus 20 II.
They Called Me 25 Shame 27 When I Returned 29 Light Fingers 31 After Long Silence 33 Hermaphrodite Endormi 35 Warm Canto 36 Essential Tremor 37 Granite City 39 Safe Passage 41 III.
Apparition of the Virgin 45 Monuments 47 The Watchman 50 The Incentive of the Maggot 52 One Firefly 55 Ritorna-Me” 57 From the City of Refuge 59 What Was Normal 61 Tristia at Neap Tide 63 Turbulent Ferry,Evening 65 Notes 66 Acknowledgments 67
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