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Dismantling the Hills

Overview

WINNER OF THE 2007 AGNES LYNCH STARRETT POETRY PRIZE

Dismantling the Hills is a testament to working-class, rural American life. In a world of machinists, loggers, mill workers, and hairdressers, the poems collected here bear witness to a landscape, an industry, and a people teetering on the edge of ruin. From tightly constructed narratives to expansive and surreal meditations, the various styles in this book not only reflect the poet's range, but his willingness to delve into ...

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Overview

WINNER OF THE 2007 AGNES LYNCH STARRETT POETRY PRIZE

Dismantling the Hills is a testament to working-class, rural American life. In a world of machinists, loggers, mill workers, and hairdressers, the poems collected here bear witness to a landscape, an industry, and a people teetering on the edge of ruin. From tightly constructed narratives to expansive and surreal meditations, the various styles in this book not only reflect the poet's range, but his willingness to delve into his obsessions from countless angles Full of despair yet never self-loathing, full of praise yet never nostalgic, Dismantling the Hills is both ode and elegy. McGriff's vision of blue-collar life is one of complication and contradiction, and the poems he makes are authentic, unwavering, and unapologetically American.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A lyricist at heart, McGriff is a masterful maker of metaphor . . . The result is a swiftly moving volume of poetry that leaves us with a sense of longing . . .for our own childhoods and for those few years before adulthood when it was curiosity, for the natural world and those passing through it, that defined us.”
—Third Coast

“The type of collection that makes you feel badly about yourself as a poet. It is so deceptively simple that one easily says, ‘Sure, I could have written something like that.’ The problem is, “Dismantling the Hills’ is actually a deceptively complex volume. It is a collection of poems of place, set almost entirely in a small factory town in Oregon on the Pacific coast. McGriff delivers the sights, sounds, and smells of this coastal area replete with teeming life and the oftentimes dismal weather. But there is majestic beauty in these descriptions, and it is clear that McGriff honors this place as a place—not as mere setting, but as a distinct element of his verse.”
—Gently Read Literature

“A powerful first collection of narratives with spark and intelligence.”
—Library Journal

Library Journal

"If you took this road twenty years ago/you'd have found my father and me at mile marker four//bucking timber at a washed-out logging site,/the bone-picking privilege the companies grant to scavengers//to cut time with slash piles." McGriff's poems are lyrical celebrations of the Northwest wilderness, of the land, the small towns, and people. They capture in sharp language and enticing rhythm the beauty and workaday desperation of the place, as well as the spirit and resilience of the people. As the land is often scarred and wanting, so are those who spend their life there: "Tonya's leg pushes against me. She says, Think you'll leave this place/when you're dead? She's come to believe we'll return/as the stray dogs at the boat basin, screech owls, and dusty moths,//that we'll be recycled from our wrong and horrible selves/into the lives of flight and flame." Winner of the 2007 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, this is a powerful first collection of narratives with spark and intelligence, rich "with the dust of stars, the grain of timber,/the burls in the hearts of men." Highly recommended.
—Louis McKee

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822960072
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 88
  • Sales rank: 958,421
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael McGriff was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon. He has received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from The Poetry Foundation, and a Michener Fellowship from the University of Texas at Austin.  He is the translator of Tomas Tranströmer's The Sorrow Gondola, and his work has appeared in Slate, Agni, Field, the Missouri Review, and Poetry, among other publications.  

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