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For a Limited TIme Only, Ronald Wallace's eighth collection of poems, is perhaps his darkest and most meditative to date, focusing his experiences with illness, old age, and mortality; his father-in-law's death after a long bout with Alzheimer's; his step-father's death after a  painful struggle with esophageal cancer, his own bout with prostate cancer. These personal experiences form the core of the first three sections of the book, but are mediated by theological and philosophical speculations that find further voice in the character of a “Mr. Grim,” whose angry, self-pitying, gruff, comic, self-depreciating, nostalgic, defeated, and hopeful riffs on the human condition provide a bridge to the affirmative, often comic, close. In the final two sections, in poems in praise of his dentist, his barber, his wife, his grandparents, the morpheme, Mr. Malaprop, Pluto, tattoos, hamburger heaven, sex talk, and poetry itself, Wallace once again proves the resilience of hope and humor in what is, for him, finally a world of wonders.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a death-inflected collection, filled with meditations upon illness that refuse to buckle in the face of the unspeakable. His wrenching elegies and playful celebrations of the self are always buoyed by his understanding of the richness of experience. Ronald Wallace’s touch is remarkably light even when his heart is heavy.”
—David St. John in Ploughshares

“Long one of our liveliest, most readable poets, Ron Wallace, in For a Limited Time Only, enters the dark woods of Mr. Grim, where three bad wolves-Age, Loss, and Illness-wait to swallow him. Never fear. Keeping his formidable wit about him, Wallace writes his way out of all three bellies, and-sadder, a little grayer, but still unbowed-springs back 'into the dust and sun-struck air' of the world that he helps us to love.”
—Charles Harper Webb

“Ron Wallace's For a Limited Time Only is a verbally mischievous, frankly droll look at illness and aging. These munificent poems embrace the private world-its horrors and pleasures-as well as the cultural world of revisionist fairy tales, children's books, and television. Barbed and poignant, inventive and philosophical, Wallace's poems are continually surprising and formally nimble. For a Limited Time Only shimmers with complication, wit, and wisdom. While our bodies may betray us, Wallace's poems do not.”
—Denise Duhamel

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822959960
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 8/11/2008
  • Series: Pitt Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 93
  • Sales rank: 1,290,083
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Wallace is the author of seven previous books of poetry, including: Long for This World: New and Selected Poems; The Uses of Adversity; Time's Fancy; People and Dog in the Sun; and The Makings of Happiness. His works of literary criticism include: God Be with the Clown: Humor in American Poetry; The Last Laugh: Form and Affirmation in the Contemporary American Comic Novel; and Henry James and the Comic Form. Wallace is Halls-Bascom Professor of English, Felix Pollak Professor of Poetry, and codirector of the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Table of Contents

Limited Time Offer

Trouble 3

In Praise of My Dentist 4

In the Sweet B&B 6

In Van Diemen's Land 7

Ditched 8

In Slow Motion 10

Inner City 11

Out Walking 12

As It Turns Out 14

Itinerant Guest 15

Then 16

Gone 17

Professor of Plums 18

The Hand of God 20

Limited Time Offer 21

Now You See It

Jilted 25

Off with Her Head! 26

Obituary 28

The Planning Session 30

Abracadabra 31

Pascal's Wager 33

What It's Like 34

On Your Own Terms 35

Professor Penis 36

Cured 37

The Autobiography of Mr. Grim

Mr. Grim's Fairy Tales 41

Mr. Grim's Gavotte 42

Mr. Grim Thinks What's in a Name 43

Mr. Grim Getting Lucky 44

Mr. Grim and Grymalkin 45

Mr. Grim in Praise of Late Nights & Inclement Weather 46

Mr. Grim and God 47

The Autobiography of Mr. Grim 48

Mr. Grim in Heaven 49

Mr. Grim's Lease on Life 50

In the Realm of Possibility

In the Realm of Possibility 53

Hamburger Heaven 55

Pluto 57

Pasta 59

Home Improvement 61

Home Maintenance 62

All Hands on Deck 63

The Origin of the Ear 64

This Is Not a Step 66

Mr. Malaprop 67

In Praise of the Morpheme 68

In Praise of My Barber 69

Tattooed 71

All Manner of Wonders

Career Day 75

The Workshop Poem 76

No Pegasus 77

The Submission 78

Sex Talk 80

On Television 81

Caution 82

Sustenance 83

For Ruby, Age 2 84

The Old Mower 85

Little Quack Cuaquito 87

Mother's Day in the Butterfly House 89

All Manner of Wonders 90

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