In a Beautiful Country

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In a Beautiful Country examines America’s suburbs and exurbs where “The thrown newspaper fails / to reach the steps.” Taking place beside hospital beds and amid outlet malls, within earshot of military bases and in the light of horror movies, these poems mourn the loss of parents, friends, and our sense of our nation. Turning to ballad-like rhythms, Prufer critiques romanticized visions of art while asserting its central role in citizenship and empire.

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Overview

In a Beautiful Country examines America’s suburbs and exurbs where “The thrown newspaper fails / to reach the steps.” Taking place beside hospital beds and amid outlet malls, within earshot of military bases and in the light of horror movies, these poems mourn the loss of parents, friends, and our sense of our nation. Turning to ballad-like rhythms, Prufer critiques romanticized visions of art while asserting its central role in citizenship and empire.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Death or violence occurs in nearly every poem in Prufer's latest, enabling and sometimes forcing the poet to locate what is beautiful in what is otherwise tragic. "You were burning so thoughtfully in the field," he writes in "The Failure of Parents to Survive Their Children," "like a horse who,/ running from a flaming barn…sets the grass afire/ as he passes through it." Prufer proves himself a master at maintaining an emotional distance from his images—"he is far away, and, anyway, this is only a dead girl"—that renders them as stark as they are gorgeous. Though Prufer, on rare occasions, can be so clinical with an image that it feels like little more than "a picture in a book," the timing and precision of his lineation and enjambment keep each of the book's four-poem sequences operating at a pitch that is always crisp. By peppering traditional and formal verse throughout—rhymed sonnets, artes poeticae, love poems, an elegy—Prufer attempts to locate a form and a place for violence within the history of poetry, the effect of which is most moving when this violence is woven into a strand that is personal, political, and so close one feels one can touch it. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“By peppering traditional and formal verse throughout—rhymed sonnets, artes poeticae, love poems, an elegy—Prufer attempts to locate a form and a place for violence within the history of poetry, the effect of which is most moving when this violence is woven into a strand that is personal, political, and so close one feels one can touch it.”—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935536116
  • Publisher: Four Way Books
  • Publication date: 3/8/2011
  • Pages: 120
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

KEVIN PRUFER is the author of four poetry collections and editor-at-large of Pleiades. He teaches at the University of Houston.

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Table of Contents

In a Beautiful Country
Citizen
Patriot Missile
On Mercy
Cancer
Seeds
It Is Not a Star, It Is an Airplane
Love Poem
What I Gave the 20th Century
Distant Strangers
Behind the Barracks, After the War
The New Century
Love Letter
The Internet
Love Poem
Ars Poetica
Ars Poetica
The Suicides
The Ambassador
Landscape
Little Paper Sacrifice
Icicles
Elegy
Burial Hymn in Winter
God’s Grandeur
Near Whiteman Air Force Base
In Some Parts of the Movie We’re Comrades
The Villain and His Helicopter
Late Empires
Cartoon Featurette
Recent History
Broken Statue of Gabriel
Pre-Elegies
Transparent Cities
The Failure of Parents to Survive Their Children
The Dead Mother
Four Artes Poeticae
Night Watch
The 20th Century
Recent History
A Wandering Star
Breather
Pills
In My Brain Is a Room...
Postscript

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