Synopses & Reviews
Many of the poems in Glyn Maxwell's brilliant new collection explore American life and history. An Englishman who lived five years in Massachusetts, Maxwell watches fairs and floods and beggars pass by; he tries to understand gridiron and the ever-lengthening Halloween season. Some of these poems concern the harmful and the harmed: school shooters and terrorists on the one hand, victims and refugees on the other -- a girl accused of witchcraft; families made homeless, knowing "none in heaven or earth with any stake/in stopping it"; and the Californian "wild child" Genie. In a zone between are the harmlessly bewildered: a man who holds his own funeral, a TV weatherman wishing for hurricanes, women writing love letters to men on Death Row.Maxwell's first new collection since The Breakage (1999), this succession of lyrics and narratives captures the strangeness and splendor of America, its thin layer of normality, its historical origins in flight, longing, and trust in providence. Beyond the cultural context of these poems is an incisive and compassionate portrait of the human animal in the twenty-first century. The Nerve is a haunting, powerful book that strikes deep beneath the surface of daily life.
A robust collection, "The Nerve captures the strangeness and splendor of America in the twenty-first century. Glyn Maxwell's colorful characters include FBI agents, the Californian "wild child" Genie, a man who holds his own funeral, and women writing love letters to men on Death Row. These are poems "you read again and again for the same reason you play a favorite tune over and over: for the sheer pleasure" ("Philadelphia Inquirer).
A haunting and powerful collection, The Nerve captures the strangeness and splendor of America in the twenty-first century. Glyn Maxwell's characters include FBI agents, the Californian "wild child" Genie, a man who holds his own funeral, and women writing love letters to men on Death Row. From college football games to television weather reports, from hayrides to hunting tragedies, Maxwell's brilliant lyrics and narratives explore American life and legend.
About the Author
'Glyn Maxwell was born in 1962 in Hertfordshire, England. He studied English at Oxford and poetry at Boston University. He is the poetry editor of the New Republic and the author of four New York Times Notable Books. Among the honors he has received are the Somerset Maugham Prize and the E. M. Forster Prize, which he was awarded in 1997 by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Maxwell now lives with his wife and their daughter in the United States.'