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From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Ruth Lilly Prize This new collection by acclaimed poet Carl Dennis is about vocation in the largest sense, the work that we believe gives our lives meaning, and the challenges that come in defining such work and in doing it well. The poems approach their subject from a variety of perspectives: a calling may involve a compromise with limitations, or be an expression of individual purpose; if a calling in some poems provides an alternative to the disorder of the world, in others it offers a means to shape the world as we are shaped by it. As the poems speak to each other, they form a dialogue of attitudes that makes room for both frustration and achievement, a dialogue that includes us and takes us beyond ourselves.
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Practical Gods is the eighth collection by Carl Dennis, a critically acclaimed poet and recent winner of one of the most prestigious poetry awards, the Ruth Lilly Prize. Carl Dennis has won acclaim for "wise, original, and often deeply moving" poems that "ease the reader out of accustomed modes of seeing and perceiving" (The New York Times). Many of the poems in this new book involve an attempt to enter into dialogue with pagan and biblical perspectives, to throw light on ordinary experience through metaphor borrowed from religious myth and to translate religious myth into secular terms. While making no claims to put us in touch with some ultimate reality, these clear, precise, sensitive poems help us to pay homage to the everyday household gods that are easy to ignore, the gods that sustain life and make it rewarding.
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