×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Inverse Sky
     

Inverse Sky

by John Isles
 

See All Formats & Editions

Part Baudelairian flâneur, an Arcadian shepherd, the speaker in John Isles’s brave new Inverse Sky encounters a fragmented history. It is nineteenth-century California, and the missions are still burning after the Americans establish the Bear Flag Republic; it is the twenty-first century, and the miners of 49 are relegated to a mural in an arcade

Overview

Part Baudelairian flâneur, an Arcadian shepherd, the speaker in John Isles’s brave new Inverse Sky encounters a fragmented history. It is nineteenth-century California, and the missions are still burning after the Americans establish the Bear Flag Republic; it is the twenty-first century, and the miners of 49 are relegated to a mural in an arcade. Both a loner and a lover, Isles’s pilgrim-poet takes us on a journey where Native Americans are “missing persons” outside a diorama of their ancestors, then sets us adrift in settings ranging from film noir to the clear-cut hills of modern-day California landscapes, under siege but not defeated.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The poems of Inverse Sky transpire in a magic climate conducive to old Edens and new evangels. Here are wantonness and water-lights written starkly. And here, too, are tender shades I have not met before, in a further America.”—Donald Revell, author, A Thief of Strings
Publishers Weekly

Isles's second collection is marked by a gentler, more lilting musicality than his taut, muscular debut, Ark. These new poems show him more inclined to stroll, drifting from one site or insight to the next, like a Bay Area "Flâneur": "To succumb to the fleshly stream of the crowd/ trafficking in the equivocal light of this sea-girt place.// To keep oneself a stranger and a pilgrim." An apartness-part scientific distance, part cloudy-headedness-characterizes much of the book: "This life is a mist, a cloud in the making." Readers may conclude the world's lightness isn't what keeps Isles's speaker withdrawn so much as a sense of powerlessness in the face of its destruction. Of particular concern is the sacrifice of the natural world to "the absolute crap people buy" and how we cope with the loss by ignoring it: "Redundancy sparkles in the marketplace/ And we in purest indifference look miles deep/ Pinkish flowers and ants we stepped on along the way/ The tiny lights-." If Isles's outlook is sometimes more enervated than activated this time out, a number of take-charge poems like "Evangelical Economics" prove that he is a dazzling and incisive lyricist of cultural critique. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781587296864
Publisher:
University of Iowa Press
Publication date:
08/15/2008
Series:
Kuhl House Poets Series
Pages:
70
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet the Author

John Isles is the author of Ark (Iowa, 2003) and coeditor of the Baltics section of New European Poets. He received an award from The Los Angeles Review in 2004 and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2005. His poems have appeared in such journals as American Letters & Commentary, the Boston Review, the Denver Quarterly, and Pleiades. He teaches at City College of San Francisco and lives with his wife, the poet Kristen Hanlon, and their son, Liam, in Alameda, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews