Synopses & Reviews
A collection of eloquent,
culturally engaged poems
that amount to Campbell
McGrath's best book yet.
"America's epic is the odyssey of appetite," Campbell McGrath declares, and these poems track those defining hungers across a social landscape by turns "grave, risible, amazing, banal," cataloging the "?vortex of images in a ruined theater the culture comes to resemble," from Rocky and Bullwinkle to "Blue Angels rampant on a field of static, / anthem and flag descending to darkness." In terza rima meditations, rock-and-roll elegies, and abecedarian lyrics, Pax Atomica documents the tangled romance between self and society ("in which / the melody's ampersand ensnares us") in ways both new and familiar to readers of McGrath's five previous volumes.
A continuation as well as a departure for one of America's most highly honored poets, this is poetry of formal eloquence and rhetorical power, of vision and engagement. Pax Atomica descends into the maelstrom of American culture and emerges singing.
"Since his much-praised Spring Comes to Chicago (1996), McGrath's readers have known what to expect: his long lines and catalogues mingle American treasures and American detritus, social critiques and topical jokes, to give his odes and verse-essays a sometimes lighthearted, consciously Whitmanesque flair. McGrath won a MacArthur grant on the strength of that style (continued in 2002's Florida Poems), and this sixth book continues in the same vein: the opening poem considers 'the gigawatt voice/ of the culture popular culture, mass culture, our culture kaboom!' McGrath indeed tries to acknowledge, even to praise, as much of that culture as he can he offers a 'song of the RV and the barbed-wire school bus farm,' 'a paradoxical, Froot Loopian/ awakening to the mechanisms of the marketplace,' even an epigram on fast food ('the sandwiches at Subway/ suck'). Many poems focus on McGrath's post-Baby Boom upbringing, and on his generation's popular (and obscure) songs; a final segment travels to Ireland and Spain. His signature form, the abecedarian catalogue (in which line one starts with A, line two with B, and so on) rewards expansion rather than compression and reconsideration, and thus can feel more sprawlingly horizontal than deep. And if this volume represents little advance, it certainly confirms McGrath's success in his ambitious, and accessible, mode." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Middle age, masculinity, competition, religion, football, and the art of poetry itself spin together into powerful ironies in some of the best poems Jones has created so far: 'I had a dream,' one begins, 'of harnessing and exacting irrevocable power over others... in the cleat-pocked, dried dirt of a practice field.'" --Publishers Weekly
A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award-winning poet Imaginary Logic
is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Joness distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless. “The Art of Heaven” opens with a parody of Dante and a down-home, twisted humor that Joness readers have come to rely on: “In the middle of my life I came to a dark wood, / the smell of barbecue, kids running in the yards. / Not deep depression. This nice hell of suburbs. / Speed bumps. The way things arent quite paradise.” Rodney Jones, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of Americas “best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets” (Poetry
). Imaginary Logic
is the most eloquent expression yet of his rigorous mind, scrupulous eye, and capacious heart.
A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award–winning poet Imaginary Logic
is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Joness distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless.
Rodney Jones, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of Americas "best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets" (Poetry).Imaginary Logicis the most eloquent expression yet of his rigorous mind, scrupulous eye, and capacious heart.
A collection of 35 new poems that will reinforce Rodney Jones's reputation as one of America's most versatile narrative poets.
About the Author
Campbell McGrath's previous collections are Shannon, Seven Notebooks, Capitalism, American Noise, Spring Comes to Chicago, Road Atlas, Florida Poems, and Pax Atomica. His awards include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations. He teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami.
Table of Contents
In the Days of Magical Realism 3
Voice Making the Sounds of Engines 4
On Fiction 7
The Competition of Prayers 9
On Criticism 12
Feelings, by Ashley Higgins 13
The Elementary Principles of Rhetoric 15
The Heaven of Self-Pity 16
The Ante 17
Confidential Advice 19
The End of Practice 23
Metaphors for the Trance 27
Hubris at Zunzal 30
Last Man Standing 31
IN MEDIA RES
Two Quick Scenes from the Late Sixties 35
The Essence of Man 39
In Media Res 43
What Is True for a Minute 45
The Previous Tenants 47
RELIQUARY OF THE OTHER WORLD
The Art of Heaven 61
The Moons: Notes on the Formation of Self 64
The Poem of Fountains 67
The Trip to Opelika 71
The Eviction 75
North Alabama Endtime 78
Lines for the Joe Wheeler Rural Electric Cooperative 81