Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest

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Overview

B. H. Fairchild's memory systems are the collective vision of America's despairing dreamers -- failed baseball players, oil field laborers, a surrealist priest, a psychic who foresees her own death, and the last remaining cast members of The Wizard of Oz. This collection journeys through the intersections of imagination and history across the plains of the Midwest.
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Overview

B. H. Fairchild's memory systems are the collective vision of America's despairing dreamers -- failed baseball players, oil field laborers, a surrealist priest, a psychic who foresees her own death, and the last remaining cast members of The Wizard of Oz. This collection journeys through the intersections of imagination and history across the plains of the Midwest.
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Editorial Reviews

Anthony Hecht
There is no more lyric celebration of America's grandeurs and desolations than in this superb collection of poems.
Eavan Boland
These poems make a rare, magical conjunction between a communal sense of place and a solitary habit of memory.
Richard Howard
What an exaltation!
Gerald Stern
Fairchild is in touch with that America we almost forgot, melancholy, dream-ridden, wistful, ghost-like.
Publishers Weekly
A much-lauded late-bloomer, B.H. Fairchild imbues his amiable formal verse with Hollywood-caliber style, sentiment and (mainly) good cheer in Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest. Following the runaway success of his 1997 Alice James book, The Art of the Lathe, this third collection probes deeper into the bleak beauty of the Midwest in the 1950s, and fans of Fairchild's comforting excursions to the familiar isolated territory of machinists won't be disappointed. If the poet's younger self found "Dvorak's New World... made me/ swallow hard and turn my face away because, well,/ it was beautiful, a word I wasn't easy with," these memory systems yield a sharp-eyed and excited collection of curiosities that work in and beyond the heartland. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Chicago Tribune
“These poems are an ecstatic celebration of language—long, lavish lines sprawling across the page as the speaker's consciousness roams the Kansas countryside. Fairchild is a spinner of tales who writes unforgettably of loneliness and the tenderness of the Midwest.”
Anthony Hecht
“There is no more lyric celebration of America's grandeurs and desolations than in this superb collection of poems.”
Eavan Bloand
“These poems make a rare, magical conjunction between a communal sense of place and a solitary habit of memory.”
Richard Howard
“What an exaltation!”
Gerald Stern
“Fairchild is in touch with that America we almost forgot, melancholy, dream-ridden, wistful, ghost-like.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393050967
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

B. H. Fairchild, the author of several acclaimed poetry collections and a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, has been a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Bobbitt National Prize. He teaches in the creative writing PhD program at the University of North Texas.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest 7
Moses Yellowhorse Is Throwing Water Balloons from the Hotel Roosevelt 8
Mrs. Hill 11
The Potato Eaters 13
Holy Rollers, Snyder, Texas, 1951 15
The Big Bands: Liberal, Kansas, Summer of 1955 17
Hearing Parker the First Time 21
The Follies Burlesque, Market Street, Kansas City 22
Delivering Eggs to the Girls' Dorm 25
Rave On 27
The Memory of a Possible Future 35
Blood Rain 28
The Death of a Psychic 40
History 41
The Decline of Utopian Ideas in the West 43
Luck 45
A Roman Grave 47
On the Passing of Jesus Freaks from the College Classroom 48
Brazil 49
Weather Report 51
The Second Annual Wizard of O2 Reunion in Liberal, Kansas 52
The Welder, Visited by the Angel of Mercy 54
The Blue Buick: A Narrative 59
Mlle Pym 89
The Levitations 90
A Man in a Machine Shop 91
A Wall Map of Paris 95
A Photograph of the Titanic 97
The Deposition 99
A Starlit Night 101
Motion Sickness 102
At the Cafe de Flore 104
At Omaha Beach 105
W. Y. Evans-Wentz, Keystone Hotel, San Diego 106
The Problem 108
Two Scenes 110
The Memory Palace 115
Notes 123
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2003

    If you've lived in the midwest, buy this book!

    I grew-up in Nebraska in the 1960s, not far from Fairchild's Kansas in the 50s. Unlike any other book of poetry, this one 'speaks' to me. Visualizing the landscapes of these poems is effortless and, for me, the interplay of human intention and life's inevitable digressions found in the poems is humorous and thought provoking. I highly recommend this book to those who, like myself and perhaps the author, find themselves geographically away from their rural midwestern beginings, but holding them closer to their hearts with the passing of time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    Simply wonderful--enchanting

    I was recently at a Fairchild reading in Liberal, Kansas. Being 29, young, and accustomed to the frantic pace of today, I wasn't sure if this was something I would honestly enjoy. I will say my evening was not wasted. I was so pleasantly amused with his witty words. Also, I was moved to think of times gone by in my hometown. I easily sat there in the audience--quietly listening--thinking of how amazing it is that there is such power in words. My review won't begin to compare with the critics for I have no frilly words to bestow upon you. If you are wanting something that will make you think--something that will take you to not-so-faraway places--try Fairchild's book. Simply put: it's great.

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