Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn

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Overview

Brooklyn, crouching forever in the shadow of Manhattan, is perhaps best known for a certain bridge or for the world-renowned tackiness of Coney Island. When it comes to literary history, Brooklyn can also seem dwarfed by its sister borough—until you take a closer look. As unlikely as it may sound, for more than two centuries Brooklyn has inspired poets and poetry. Although there are plenty of poetry anthologies devoted to specific regions of the United States, Broken Land is the first to focus exclusively on verse that celebrates Brooklyn. And what remarkable verse it is.

Edited by poets Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Michael Tyrell, this collection of 135 notable poems reveals the many cultural, ethnic, aesthetic, and religious traditions that have accorded Brooklyn its enduring place in the American psyche. Dazzling in its selections, Broken Land offers poetry from the colonial period to the present, including contributions from the American poets most closely associated with Brooklyn—Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, and Marianne Moore—as well as memorable poems from Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, George Oppen, and Charles Reznikoff. Also included are a wide range of contemporary works from both established and emerging poets: Derek Walcott, Galway Kinnell, C.K. Williams, Amy Clampitt, Martin Espada, Lisa Jarnot, Marilyn Hacker, Tom Sleigh, D. Nurkse, Donna Masini, Michael S. Harper, Noelle Kocot, Joshua Beckman, and many others.

With its expansive array of poetic styles and voices, Broken Land mirrors the borough's diversity, toughness, and surprising beauty. The requirements for inclusion in this volume were simple: excellent poems that pay tribute in some way to the land that Dutch settlers, translating from the Algonquian, called “Gebroken landt.” But it is the phrase emblazoned on borough billboards that best serves to entice readers into entering this book: “Welcome to Brooklyn, Like No Other Place in the World.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Published by NYU Press, it is the first poetry anthology dedicated exclusively to verse about Brooklyn. Editors Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Michael Tyrell have culled 135 poems that chart the borough’;s long history as a place of danger and beauty, dreams and disappointment. Sure, there are several references to Brooklyn’;s bridges and Coney Island’;s beaches—and even a few to the Dodgers—but the book also encompasses a diversity of lives lived among and between the borough’s icons.”
-Brooklyn Daily Eagle

,

“In the excellent and surprising anthology Broken Land, poets and editors Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Michael Tyrell take a chronological and panoramic look at the New York borough of Brooklyn as portrayed in poems.”
-Publishers Weekly

,

“This book isn’t only for Brooklyn residents but for all those who value community. . . . Reading this collection is a moving experience because the poems feel home-grown. It doesn't matter where they were written, each one makes Brooklyn come alive, and the poems find a home inside you.”
-From the Foreword by Hal Sirowitz,author of Mother Said

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814748039
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,485,266
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

A former resident of Brooklyn, Julia Spicher Kasdorf is an associate professor of English at Penn State University. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Eve’s Striptease and Sleeping Preacher, and a collection of essays, The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life.

Michael Tyrell lives in Brooklyn, where he was born. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and Ploughshares. He teaches writing at New York University and Pace University.

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Table of Contents


Foreword   Hal Sirowitz     xiii
Introduction: Bridge, Subway, Carnival: The Poetry of Brooklyn
In Brooklyn, In Paradise   Michael Tyrell   Julia Spicher Kasdorf     xv
Borough of Churches   Julia Spicher Kasdorf     xxiv
Exits from Brooklyn   Michael Tyrell     xxx
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Sun-down Poem     3
Beginnings: Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries
The Wallam Olum, Book One     13
On Mercenary and Unjust Bailiffs     15
Epitaph for Madam Anna Loockermans     15
The Market Girl 51     16
Greenwood Cemetery     17
These Days     20
A Ditty of Greenpoint     21
The Wallabout Martyrs     22
The Legend of Coney Island, part 1     23
1900-1950
Coney Island     29
Our Camilla     30
from Rhythms, 7     31
Brooklyn Bridge     32
Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge     37
I Am...     39
The Ballad of the Children of the Czar     41
Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne)     45
The Bridge     47
God and Messenger     47
Get theGasworks     48
1950s
Salt Water Taffy     51
It Happened on the Fourth Avenue Local, Brooklyn, On My 77th Birthday, March 20, 1955     52
Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore     53
24 from A Coney Island of the Mind     55
Hometown Piece for Messrs. Alston and Reese     56
1960s
National Cold Storage Company     61
Ave Maria     62
The Bridge     64
It is Sticky in the Subway     66
The Men of Sheepshead     67
A Letter From Brooklyn     68
Street     70
The Allegorical Figure of Brooklyn     71
Personal Poem #9     72
Similes     73
[IIO]     73
1970s
Unpaid Bills     77
The Synagogue on Kane Street     78
Moving     79
In the Forties 3     80
Coney Island, from Houdini     81
Cables to Rage Or I've Been Talking on This Street Corner a Hell of a Long Time     82
For Michael Angelo Thompson     84
Backyard     86
Leaping Clear     87
Flatbush Incantation     90
Sharks at the New York Aquarium     92
Dead Morning in Brooklyn Heights     93
1980s
Grand Army Plaza     97
The Jurors     99
Housework     101
The Regulars     103
About Brooklyn     106
Brooklyn College Brain     107
Fire in Luna Park     108
Burial in Cypress Hills     109
From The Brooklyn Bridge     111
Love in Brooklyn     113
The Drowning of the Facts of Life     114
Tempest in Borough Park     117
Flatbush 1980: A State of the Caribbean in Brooklyn     118
Haiti. new york     119
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden     121
Boast     123
Introduction to the Telephone     124
On the Milkboxes     125
Brooklyn Waterfall     127
1990s
Prospect Park     131
Riding the D-Train     132
Soup     133
Crossing Neptune Ave.     136
Yes, Yes, Like Us     137
Mother's Day, Coney Island: Metropolitan Jewish Geriatric Home     139
The Future of Patriotic Poems     141
For Walt and the Lion Tamers     142
Getting Out of Where "We Came From     144
Giants in the Earth     145
Halloween Weather (a Suite)     148
The Hyacinth Garden in Brooklyn     151
Authority     153
Prometheus at Coney Island     155
Street Scene     157
On this Earth     159
Dread     160
536 Saratoga Avenue     161
The Fire     163
You Are What You Eat     164
The Unknowable     166
Some Different Kinda Books     168
Brooklyn Bodhisattvas     171
Twenty-first Century
Freud in Brooklyn     175
The Mexican Cabdriver's Poem for His Wife, Who Has Left Him     177
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden     178
View     179
Brooklyn Aubade     182
Brooklyn Bridge the Other Way     184
Over Brighton     185
Enemies of Time     186
#39     187
The Living End     189
Brooklyn Anchorage     193
From Something I Expected to Be Different     194
Brooklyn Sestina: June, 1975     195
Bushwick: Latex Flat     197
Minnie & Barbara     198
A Garbage Can in Brooklyn Full of Books      200
From "The World at Night"     202
Bones     203
The Wilson Avenue Kings     205
The Widows of Gravesend     206
In Brooklyn     207
Elegy for a Soldier     209
Jack Roosevelt     213
Train to Coney Island     216
Coca-Cola and Coco Frio     217
From Brooklyn Bridge     218
Last Night in Brooklyn     219
Ailanthus     220
Brooklyn     222
Uncle Dugan     224
V. Bridge View     226
A Mosque in Brooklyn     227
Swell of Flame     228
Suburbia     230
Walking through Prospect Park with Suzan     231
West Street     233
The Million Dollar Poem or You Must Change Your Life     234
I'll Have a Manhattan     237
Life Is Not Complicated and Hard, Life Is Simple and Hard     239
Volcano on Grand Street     241
The Old Italian Neighborhood     243
Sunday Cafe     245
Jamaica Bay     247
After We Make Love     248
About the Poets     249
Acknowledgments     273
About the Editors     280
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