After the Point of No Return

After the Point of No Return

by David Wagoner

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“David Wagoner’s study of American nostalgias is as eloquent as that of James Wright.” —Harold BloomSee more details below


“David Wagoner’s study of American nostalgias is as eloquent as that of James Wright.” —Harold Bloom

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his latest collection, Wagoner riffs on his titles—“My Father’s Body,” “Driving,” “Playground,” “What the Marine Biologist Told Me”—delving deep into particular subjects. In “Orpheus Practicing,” we are treated to just that: the oft-poeticized musician “after he’d strung the turtle shell with catgut... deciding which of the strings to pluck.” Wagoner occasionally sounds an off note, as when describing a “homeless drinking man,” whom Wagoner advises to make “a house/ out of the blizzard itself.” The poems that prevail are the ones in which Wagoner throws a kink into the expectation that forms when one reads his titles. “On the Road” tracks a caravan of overindulgent wisdom-seekers whose ambitions are as nervy as the poetry with which Wagoner renders them: “we’d filled the moat as high as the first drains of the palace/ that should have had a prince and a princess and a king and a queen/ waiting for us inside it, showing us how to be wise, but didn’t.” It’s here that Wagoner pushes past the subject of his titles into a place of real urgency. (Mar.)
Library Journal
The author of more than two dozen books of poetry, along with nearly a dozen novels, two-time National Book Award nominee Wagoner (In Broken Country) again demonstrates that he speaks best in verse. His latest volume examines life's ironies, idiosyncrasies, and imitable possibilities: "Is everything we think/ we know as certain truth/ a metaphor we make/ between our capable hands/ and our heads?" Ranging from meditation on childhood to contemplation of life's end, a Wagoner poem finds its strongest metaphors in the natural world but is not limited to it; some poems look for immortality through memory. The poems exhibit lovely imagery, clear language, and forms organic to content while also engaging in some wry humor—imagine Jesus as a messy roommate or Thoreau herding a loose cow. In the end, Wagoner strives to define what it means to be human by asking the larger questions. VERDICT A highly recommended book by an important poet.—Karla Huston, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, Madison
The Washington Post
…one of his best. The poems are remarkably consistent and polished…His lines and stanzas are crisp and sure, and the voice is always articulate and thoughtful…Wagoner knows how to describe a scene with such precision that readers feel both its immediacy and its larger import.
—Elizabeth Lund

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Product Details

Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x -11.00(d)

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