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The Last Nostalgia: Poems, 1982-1990

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The Last Nostalgia: Poems, 1982-1990 Cover

ISBN13: 9781557285584
ISBN10: 1557285586
Condition:
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Staff Pick

This is a collection of the work of a poet who committed suicide at twenty-eight, posthumously edited by his mentor Donald Justice. Loss marks these poems:

Still, in the soft metallic resonance of twilight, The closest thing you have left to a soul Is the smoke from your cigarette drifting out the window Of a hotel room, number nine, and what little You can remember of the little love you made.

And at night here there's nothing to do But lie down beside your lost self And the lost selves of others you have lost...

— As the dark ghosts of ships Sound their goodbyes, never arriving at the far shore.

Written in form (most notably the sonnet) and controlled free verse, the poems are relentlessly elegiac and devastating. But mere pathos doesn't shape this collection. Bolton's sense of place, that of the contemporary American South, particularly Bolton's native Kentucky, locates readers in a landscape of "blue winter dusk," "small-town basements and garages," and "endless Nashvilles, / A jambalaya of women, whiskey, and pills." Primarily lyric, his poems are also filled with the presence and voices of others: the boys of Dexter, Kentucky, a group of insurance men breakfasting at a diner, a retired pilot walking his dog Boofy, Hank Williams, JFK, a sixteenth-century Spanish chaplain, and a "Bored Cop Leaning against Abstract Sculpture on Plaza Below Skyscraper." There is much to rave about in these poems. A meager review doesn't do them justice.
Recommended by Tricia, Powell's Books for Home and Garden

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Joe Bolton studied universal connections—the tension between the transitory beauty of the physical world and a yearning for the eternal. He turned his eye to the world, to the cultures and the people around him, and saw reflections of himself. In this collection, he works in both free verse and traditional forms, rendering scenes of exquisite detail that pry into the hearts of his characters and reveal the contradictions that bind father to son, lover to lover, and person to person. From the broken hills and drowsy river valleys around Paducah, Kentucky, to Houston diners and Gulf Coast shrimp boats, to the tropical cityscape of Miami, Bolton creates vivid scenes in which his characters confront the loneliness and the "little music" of their lives. With a richly musical voice and an ear for the cadences of everyday speech, Bolton gives his readers not the trappings of love and grief, but the very things themselves, rendered in lines that reverberate with the authority of sincerity and truth.

About the Author

Joe Bolton was born in Cadiz, Kentucky, in 1961 and received an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona. He taught at both the University of Arizona and the University of Florida at Gainesville. His work appeared in numerous magazines, and he published two collections of poetry, Breckinridge County Suite (The Cummington Press, 1987) and Days of Summer Gone (Galileo Press, 1990). Mr. Bolton took his own life in March 1990 at the age of twenty-eight.

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une.bete.rare, October 20, 2009 (view all comments by une.bete.rare)
I was first introduced to the poetry of Joe Bolton during my freshman year of college in a creative writing class. My teacher handed the class two of his poems: "Style," which is a pairing of an Elizabethan sonnet and a Petrarchan sonnet, and "Alcohol," written in free verse. As I read these poems, I was struck with actual physical sensations, tangible and palpable feelings evoked by the sheer beauty and emotional purity of Bolton's language. I realized then that this is the marker of good poetry- it causes the reader to physically feel the words, the lines, the stanzas. Not only did Bolton create poems with powerful emotional resonance, but he also utilized traditional forms of metrical poetry to do so. Bolton's free verse is excellent, but his sonnets break my heart (in the best way possible). The restraints of rhyme and meter caused Bolton to write some of the most original, truthful, and truly beautiful lines of poetry I have ever encountered. Bolton committed suicide at age 28, and sadness permeates this entire anthology. However, with this in mind, it is important to say that the tone of sadness found in so many of these poems is not overly depressing to the reader; instead, the reader is left profoundly moved by the clarity, weight, and beauty of Bolton's words.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781557285584
Author:
Bolton, Joe
Publisher:
University of Arkansas Press
Editor:
Justice, Donald
Author:
Justice, Donald
Author:
Joe Bolton
Location:
Fayetteville :
Subject:
American
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Poetry (poetic works by one author)
Subject:
Pcetry (pcetac wcrks by cne authcr)
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback
Publication Date:
19990731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.7 in

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The Last Nostalgia: Poems, 1982-1990 New Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages University of Arkansas Press - English 9781557285584 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This is a collection of the work of a poet who committed suicide at twenty-eight, posthumously edited by his mentor Donald Justice. Loss marks these poems:

Still, in the soft metallic resonance of twilight, The closest thing you have left to a soul Is the smoke from your cigarette drifting out the window Of a hotel room, number nine, and what little You can remember of the little love you made.

And at night here there's nothing to do But lie down beside your lost self And the lost selves of others you have lost...

— As the dark ghosts of ships Sound their goodbyes, never arriving at the far shore.

Written in form (most notably the sonnet) and controlled free verse, the poems are relentlessly elegiac and devastating. But mere pathos doesn't shape this collection. Bolton's sense of place, that of the contemporary American South, particularly Bolton's native Kentucky, locates readers in a landscape of "blue winter dusk," "small-town basements and garages," and "endless Nashvilles, / A jambalaya of women, whiskey, and pills." Primarily lyric, his poems are also filled with the presence and voices of others: the boys of Dexter, Kentucky, a group of insurance men breakfasting at a diner, a retired pilot walking his dog Boofy, Hank Williams, JFK, a sixteenth-century Spanish chaplain, and a "Bored Cop Leaning against Abstract Sculpture on Plaza Below Skyscraper." There is much to rave about in these poems. A meager review doesn't do them justice.

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