Chronic: Poems

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Now in paperback, the winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

so many of the best days seem minor forms of nearness
      that easily fall among the dropseed: a rind, a left-behind

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Now in paperback, the winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

so many of the best days seem minor forms of nearness
      that easily fall among the dropseed: a rind, a left-behind
—from “no picnic”

In these brilliant poems from one of contemporary poetry’s most intriguing, singular voices, D. A. Powell strikes out for the farther territories of love and comes back from those fields with loss, with flowers faded, “blossom blast and dieback.” Chronic describes the flutter and cruelty of erotic encounter, temptation, and bitter heartsickness, but with Powell’s deep lyric beauty and his own brand of dark wit.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“D. A. Powell is one of the two or three major poets now in mid-career . . . We will still be reading D. A. Powell a long time from now, both for the record he offers of the last thirty years of American history and culture and for the new possibilities he has created for poetry. He is both accessible and challenging, saying something new, and saying it newly, with each book, yet speaking with an authority as old as poetry itself.” Craig Morgan Teicher, 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist citation

Publishers Weekly

This fourth collection from Powell (Cocktails ) is simultaneously an accessible heartbreaker, a rare gem for connoisseurs, a genre-altering breakthrough and a long anticipated follow-up. The San Francisco-based poet has lived with, and written about, HIV for a decade, and his own illness remains a subject here; so does his celebration of gay eroticism, of love in the spirit and in the flesh. "Democrac" (Powell pointedly omits the "Y") shows 21st-century queer anguish and outrage: "does god discriminate, slashing some flags," it asks, while "farther above the chapels pale heaven expires." Powell goes on to investigate many more sources of sadness and happiness, solidarity and discontent: "Cancer inside a little sea" takes on environmental degradation: "child to come, what will you make of this scratched paradise." The unruly long lines of Powell's previous work here join more conventional-looking stanzaic lyrics; they join, too, two ultra-long poems, printed sideways, entitled "Cinemascope" and "centerfold." This book will be remembered for years, for its serious feelings, their swerves, their tears, its jokes. A poem to a crab louse abuts a scene from the biblical binding of Isaac, and a poem in which the Twin Towers fall segues from bedroom to public space and then back: "lips can say anything but first they say goodbye." (Feb.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555976064
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2012
  • Pages: 88
  • Sales rank: 570,147
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys. He lives in San Francisco.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2010

    extra-ordinary book of poetry.

    What a great book! Slighty homogenous, rather unorthodox, vaguely familiar to e.e. cummings, and such a beautiful layout that includes a centerfold page(how original!). I thoroughly loved this book, and would recommend it to anyone who is intrigued by unethical methods of displaying the English language in a unique, absolutely superb way! Congratulations, Mr. Powell on this fine collection of poetry. Can't wait until your next book comes out!

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