Declension in the Village of Chung Luong / Edition 1

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After years of profound spiritual work, our most powerful poet of the Viet Nam War now turns to our potential for redemption. The book’s locus is Chung Luong, birthplace of Weigl’s Vietnamese daughter, Hanh, and one of the poorest and most beautiful places on earth. That vivid contrast, between beauty and utter poverty, is what drives this book, allowing the poet to view the collapse of empire—one of the book’s central themes—from a new psychic vantage. While these tough, retrospective poems break into a new realm of compassion and forgiveness, they are just as steely and truth-telling as any of his earlier works, which were brilliant explorations of the damages of war and the violent potential of the human imagination.

But readers of Weigl’s past books (among them Song of Napalm, What Saves Us, The Monkey Wars) and his critically acclaimed memoir, The Circle of Hanh, will recognize the distance he has traveled. As he himself has put it, “I began to feel as if I might try to assume some kind of public voice, so that these poems feel to me as if they’re the most mature I’ve written. What drives the form is the attitude, and what drives the attitude is the particular take on diction; a kind of free-wheeling American-like regard for how words mean and how they feel in your mouth when you say them. I’ve never said the phrase ‘this is my best book ever,’ but I can say it here because I know it is and I know what it took to get there.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931337311
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of fourteen poetry collections and a memoir, Weigl's work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker and Harpers. His poems are widely anthologized and translated into several lanquages. His awards include prizes from The Academy of American Poets and the National Endowment for the Arts. He's currently Distinguished Professor of Arts and Humanities at The Lorain County Community College.

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Table of Contents

The head of the company 5
Anna in mourning 6
What you would do 7
How I like it 8
I confess to enjoying the flesh of our cousin, Mr. Pig 9
Whatever 10
Say good-bye 11
My award 12
Self-portrait at fifty-three 13
In love with easeful death 15
Home of the brave 16
Portal 17
Oh nature 18
Nothing more 19
Eddy 20
Iraq drifting, July 2003 21
Words for Calvin 22
Con Gai Bo 23
Hanoi drifting, January 2003 27
The burning oil rises through the wick 28
Moon of the red grass 29
Kingdom 30
The stakes as hands 31
Under Arcturus 32
The abandonment of beauty at Allen Memorial Hospital 33
For you 34
Elegy for Biggie Smalls 35
Meditation at Penfield 36
My God (was always over me) 37
My Uncle Rudy in sunlight 38
In Hai Phong 39
Doctrine of two truths 40
Dead man, thinking 41
The prisoner of ours 42
Patrick, in memory 43
Before you turn away 44
The first father-murdered rabbit 47
Declension in the village of Chung Luong 48
Departing Galway 49
What the martyr said 50
The one thousandth 51
Lesson from Da Lat 52
Late summer lilies 53
I don't know how much more 54
Honey 55
Bad interview 56
Apology to no one, November seventeenth, two thousand four 58
Coyote on Hanford Road bridge 59
Notes from a conversation with Beckian 60
My second winter coyote 61
By way of elegy, for my friend 62
Reading the guardians of the lotus sutra, an old friend comes back to me 63
Le Filme 65
Poor excuse 66
Meditation on Scout Master Bill 67
This no where 69
My good-bye 70
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