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The first poetry collection by D. A. Powell since his remarkable trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and
Cocktails, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

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

In these ...

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The first poetry collection by D. A. Powell since his remarkable trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and
Cocktails, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

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

In these brilliant new 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
Praise for Cocktails:

“Powell’s long, stuttering line helps his extravagant imagination encompass the practical troubles long illness entails. No accessible poet of his generation is half as original, and no poet as original is this accessible.” —The New York Times Book Review

Library Journal
Love, loss, and death. Such are the great themes of poetry, which Powell has recast over four collections, fitting them to the shattering consequences of being gay—and HIV positive—in the age of AIDS. His current work is a love story that's also the story of how poetry might be written in the 21st century; here is an innovative reworking of poetics and breathtakingly extravagant lines set to snare you. Poetry lovers will tell you that a few of these poems are without parallel; read them to see where poetry is going.
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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555975166
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/2009
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

D. A. POWELL is the author of Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. He teaches at the University of San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area.

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Table of Contents

Initial C

no picnic 5

california poppy 6

central valley 7

crematorium at sierra view cemetery next to the high school 8

on the tarmac 9

early havoc 10

clutch and pumps 11

coronation fanfare [in the style of edith sirwell] 12

come live with me and be my love 13

cul-de-sac 14

lipsync [with a nod to lipps, inc.] 15

cosmos, late blooming 16

sprig of lilac 17

continental divide 18

gospel on the dial, with intermittent static 20

that night in the foxhole with the pfc 22

coit tower & us 23

meditating upon the meaning of the line "clams on the halfshell and rollerskates" in the song good times by chic 25

the half-forgotten voice of yma sumac 26

[not the musical:] south pacific 27

confessions of a teenage drama queen 28

cinemascope 29

centerfold 30

the expiration date on the world is not quite the same as the expiration date on my prophylactic 31


chronic 35

Terminal C

callas lover 41

coal of this unquickened world 42

shut the fuck up and drink your gin & tonic 43

city upon a hill 44

republic 45

democrac 48

untimely ripped of plastic 49

plague year: comet: arc 50

for the coming pandemic 51

hepatitis ABC 53

cancer inside a little sea 54

he's a maniac, maniac 56

crossing into canaan 57

bound isaac 58

courthouse steps 60

chia pet cemetery 62

collapse 63

crab louse 64

congregation in glory 65

confidence man 66

barbershop talc 68

cruel, cruel summer 69

chrysanthemum 70

cock on the radio 71

clown burial in winter 72

scenes from the trip we didn't take to the antarctic 73

corydon & alexis 77

corydon & alexis, redux 79

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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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