Synopses & Reviews
In his seventeenth collection of poetry, Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn confronts the lines we fight against and the ones we draw for ourselves. poignantly captures the absurdities of modern life, expectations derailed, the lived life juxtaposed to the imagined life, and the defenses we don to make do. The poems in are wry and elegiac, precisely observed and wide-reaching. As with the best of Dunn's work, they take stock of the quotidian aspects of life, of the essential comedy of getting through the day: finding a lost cat; not being invited to a party; taking a granddaughter to a carnival. The lines of defense are the lines of the verse itself, as poetry forms a stronghold against mortality. This essential volume showcases a poet writing at the height of his powers.
"Stephen Dunn's fresh batch of poems teaches us that 'to tell' is just as good as 'to show' if you have something worth telling. These are smart, forceful, meticulously spoken poems that tell us some vital truths about how to conduct our lives." Billy Collins
"Stephen Dunn's newest poems--retrospective, elegiac, comic, quotidian, tactful, and transcendent--true the self's comprehensions of its own stories as a sawyer's jig, file, and hammer true a saw, yet without ever sacrificing tenderness for sharpness (or the reverse). reconfirms Dunn's long-held place as one of our most necessary American poets: if he did not exist, we would have to invent him. But--what luck-- exist he does." Jane Hirshfield
"Over a lifetime richly invested in poetry, Dunn has mastered his signature take on an artfully colloquial voice that, in the guise of plainspeaking, slyly lampoons our daily pretensions, tenderly empathizes with our daily disappointments, and reminds us that the day-to-day can serve as the gateway to otherness. is an admirable addition to that life-work, its difficult honesties and wrestlings with conscience lurking under beckoningly, entertainingly casual surfaces." Albert Goldbarth
From Before We Leave:
Where are we going? It s not an issue of here or there And if you ever feel you can take another step, imagin how you might feel to arrive if not wiser, a little more awar how to inhabit the middle groun between misery and joy
From "Before We Leave"
Where are we going?
It's not an issue of here or there.
And if you ever feel you can't
take another step, imagine
how you might feel to arrive,
if not wiser, a little more aware
how to inhabit the middle ground
between misery and joy.
"[Stephen Dunn] has taken his place among our major, indispensable poets."--
About the Author
Stephen Dunn is the author of seventeen poetry collections, including What Goes On: New and Selected Poems 1995-2009 and, most recently, Here and Now. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection Different Hours. He has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Richard Stockton College, he lives in Frostburg, Maryland, with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd.