Synopses & Reviews
Interrogation Palace is a career-spanning selection of work from an important American poet, drawing upon each of David Wojahn’s six previous collections and a substantial gathering of new work. Moving fluently from personal history to public history, and from high culture to popular culture, Wojahn’s searching and restless poetry has been considerably acclaimed, both for the candor of its testimony and the authority of its formal invention. He is above all an elegiac poet, tender and ferocious by turns, whether mourning the loss of family and loved ones or the hopes and aspirations of the baby-boomer era. Interrogation Palace confirms David Wojahn’s status as one of the most inventive, passionate, and ambitious figures of his generation.
"Adding nine new poems (one of them a massive sequence) to selections from his six previous books, this mid-career selection shows what amplitudes Wojahn's poems now possess and how they got that way. Brief excerpts from Icehouse Lights (1982) his Yale Younger Poets prize debut show the tough-guy voice with which he began; more fun, and smarter, are segments from Mystery Train (1990), whose sonnet sequence recounted the history of rock and roll. Late Empire (1994) showed a poet newly at home in the jeremiad, comparing the firebombing of 'Dresden and its million pounds of napalm' to 'the singer clubbing his guitar to wire/ and splinters on the stage.' Heroes and villains, ancients and moderns, proliferated in the subsequent work, which adapted Latin models (Virgil, Catullus, Propertius) and sometimes mourned Wojahn's late wife, the poet Lynda Hull. This sternly chosen sampling should strengthen, if not alter, Wojahn's reputation as an elegist, autobiographer and poetic historian sometimes as all three at once. Those who already know his strengths will rejoice in the new work, especially in the remarkable and well-informed protest poems." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“Superb. Powerful, panoramic. In Interrogation Palace
Wojahn picked the perfect title: these are poems of both largesse and terror. . . . He writes with as much formal and emotional strength as any poet alive.”
shows that David Wojahn has been faithful to his vision. Never afraid of the arcane and experimental, he somehow keeps both feet in this world and propels us through an inner sanctum of angels and rock music, soothsayers and popular history, and philosophers and postmodern mystery. At the heart of Wojahn’s poetry is the raw data of pain and joy. This wonderful poet knows how to conjure laughter through a witty, earthy language.”
“This sternly chosen sampling should strengthen, if not alter, Wojahn’s reputation as an elegist, autobiographer and poetic historian--sometimes as all three at once. Those who already know his strengths will rejoice in the new work, especially in the remarkable and well-informed protest poems.
A career-spanning selection of work by a widely respected American poet, including a generous gathering of new poems.
About the Author
David Wojahn is professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and also teaches in the MFA in Writing Program of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of Spirit Cabinet, The Falling Hour, Late Empire, Mystery Train, Glassworks, Icehouse Lights, Interrogation Palace, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and World Tree, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize. Wojahn is the recipient of four Pushcart Prizes, the William Carlos Williams Book Award, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, the George Kent Memorial Prize, and the O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, among other honors. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.