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"Between Angels affirms what we are capable of in our best moments--grace, tenderness, love--while acknowledging that the human heart can be merciless. It's a book of great breadth."--Gregory Djanikian, Philadelphia Inquirer
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. A wise and graceful new collection by one of our "major, indispensable poets" (Sidney Lea). The mysteries of Eros and Thanatos, the stubborn endurance of mind and body in the face of diminishment--these are the undercurrents of Stephen Dunn's eleventh volume. "I am interested in exploring the 'different' hours," he says, "not only of one's life, but also of the larger historical and philosophical life beyond the personal."
A wise and graceful new collection by one of our "major, indispensable poets" (Sidney Lea). The mysteries of Eros and Thanatos, the stubborn endurance of mind and body in the face of diminishment--these are the undercurrents of Stephen Dunn's eleventh volume. "I am interested in exploring the 'different' hours," he says, "not only of one's life, but also of the larger historical and philosophical life beyond the personal."
"Essential to contemporary poetry collections."--Library Journal In his fourteenth collection, Stephen Dunn, "one of our indispensable poets" (Miami Herald), continues to probe brilliantly the unsaid and the elusive in the lives we live, in language that Gerald Stern has called "unbearably fearless and beautiful."
"A wonderful example of the poet's ability to satisfy readers and anticipate their thoughts."--Elizabeth Lund, Washington Post In his sixteenth collection, Stephen Dunn continues to bring his imagination and intelligence to what Wallace Stevens calls "the problems of the normal," which of course pervade most of our lives. The poem "Don't Do That" opens with the lines: "It was bring-your-own if you wanted anything / hard, so I brought Johnnie Walker Red / along with some resentment I'd held in / for a few weeks." In other poems, Dunn contemplates his own mortality, echoing Yeats--"That is no country for old men / cadenced everything I said"--only to discover he's joined their ranks. In "The Writer of Nudes" his speaker is in search of the body's "grammar" but tells his models, "Don't expect to see yourself as other / than I see you." Full of grace, wit, humor, and masterful precision, the poems in Here and Now attest to the contradictions we live with in the here and now. Political and metaphysical, these astonishing poems remind us of the essential human comedy of getting through each day. from "The House on the Hill" . . . from out of the fog, a large, welcoming house would emerge made out of invention and surprise. No things without ideas! you'd shout, and the doors would open, and the echoes would cascade down to the valleys and the faraway towns.
An evocation of beauty's often-surprising manifestations; even in the face of tragedy. "Beauty isn't nice. Beauty isn't fair;" So, in part, states an epigraph for this stunning new collection, his thirteenth, by the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry (2000). First traversing betrayal and loss, Stephen Dunn then moves to speak of new love, with its attendant pleasures and questioning. The title poem, perhaps emblematic of the book as a whole, is evocative of beauty's often surprising manifestations even in the light of tragedy; as on that terrible day "when those silver planes came out of the perfect blue." Because beauty jars us, makes us look twice, it is as startling as a good poem, and as insistent. Fortunately, it is never too late to search for the right words for what we've seen, felt, endured. With quiet authority Dunn enacts what it feels like to be a particular man at a particular juncture of his life; struggling not to deny, but to name, then rename.
"Here is the mature work of a poet who has always managed to delight--but who now demands something more of us. He asks us to enter the twenty-first century with open eyes: attentive to the past, eager for the future, naming what we love."--Judith Kitchen, Georgia Review
"[Stephen Dunn] has taken his place among our major, indispensable poets."--Miami Herald In his seventeenth collection of poetry, Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Dunn confronts the lines we fight against and the ones we draw for ourselves. Lines of Defense 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 Lines of Defense 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. 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.
Wise and searching new poems from the winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. In his twelfth collection, his first since winning the Pulitzer Prize, Stephen Dunn turns his keen gaze on Sisyphus, our contemporary Everyman. Free, for the time being, from the power of the gods and the ceaseless weight of the rock, he struggles to navigate twenty-first-century America. In language by turns mordant and tender, often elegiac, Dunn illuminates the quotidian burdens of his all-too-human hero, as well as the abrasions of ambivalence and choice, finally concluding that "here / and there, though mostly here, even fate is reversible / with struggle or luck." In a second sequence of poems, nineteenth-century novelists become "local visitors" to the author's South Jersey towns. "Chekhov in Port Republic," "Jane Austen in Egg Harbor," "Dostoyevsky in Wildwood": these inventions and others give Dunn provocative new latitudes. As in his previous books, "he balances the casual and the vivid as he plumbs the ambiguity and mystery of human relations" (New York Times Book Review).
"Dunn's new poems are driven by the same tireless force that made his New and Selected Poems (1994) so powerful, but there is a new tone here, a deepening of his recognition of life's perversities."--Booklist In this tenth collection, Stephen Dunn turns his "wise, well-practiced eye" (Library Journal) on an America growing ever more stringent with its daily mercies. Not content merely to observe the world, Dunn's stance is always dual, complicit. And as he navigates through each paradox of his moral and aesthetic and erotic selves, this poet, described by Sydney Lea as one "who remains open to contradictions," travels to a place of exact and complicated vision.
Justly celebrated as one of our strongest poets, Stephen Dunn selects from his eight collections and presents sixteen new poems marked by the haunting "Snowmass Cycle."
"This Astaire-like glide through our not-so-idle talk is a pleasure."--Publishers Weekly Stephen Dunn experiments with short, related pieces that play off each other in the manner of jazz improvisations. The resulting pairs cover such subjects as "Scruples/Saints," "Hypocrisy/Precision," and "Anger/Generosity." The wisdom and startling turns we've come to expect from Dunn are everywhere in the ninety miniatures (forty-five pairs) that comprise this volume.
Committed to exploring the role of poetry and poets in our culture, Stephen Dunn provides new, expanded versions of the essays originally published by W. W. Norton in 1993, now out of print. In Walking Light, Dunn discusses the relationship between art and sport, the role of imagination in writing poetry, and the necessity for surprise and discovery when writing a poem. Humorous, intelligent and accessible, Walking Light is a book that will appeal to writers, readers, and teachers of poetry.Stephen Dunn is the author of eleven collection of poetry. He teaches writing and literature at the Richard Stockton College in Pomona, New Jersey, and lives in Port Republic, New Jersey.
Brilliant new poems and an expansive gathering from six collections by a Pulitzer Prize winner celebrated as "indispensable." What Goes On displays the evolving style and sensibility of a major award-winning poet, and a traceable growth that has blossomed into a provocative confrontation with questions of consciousness and existence. Stephen Dunn's poems probe life's big questions without ever losing sight of the significance of the mundane.
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