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The Low End of Higher Things

The Low End of Higher Things

by David Clewell, Ronald Wallace (Editor)

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Comic books, beatnik kitsch, and all that jazz.


Comic books, beatnik kitsch, and all that jazz.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"David Clewell is an exuberant, inexhaustible poet and an insider on such diverse American arcana as forgotten Hollywood actors, flying saucers, CIA shenanigans, comic books, cereal favors, beatnik kitsch, and jazz. His unstoppable narrative energy and his multi-layered curiosity are almost enough to drive this poet out to the far right side of the page. His elegy for a federal agent who jumped out a window on LSD is alone worth the price of this collection of Clewell at his best, his most Clewellian."—Billy Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States

"If you have been a fan of David Clewell’s poems for twenty-five years or more, you know his voice is inimitable, and you celebrate every occurrence. If you are encountering him now for the first time, what are you waiting for, you lucky one? Open the book!"—Naomi Shihab Nye

The Washington Post
David Clewell may be the most open-armed and open-hearted poet writing well in English these days. Clewell's is the art of the embrace, encompassing and warming his subjects. In The Low End of Higher Things, as in his six previous collections, he embraces the jetsam of American culture, taking (as the title suggests) what is lowly and connecting it with higher (and deeper) things. — Chris King
This is Clewell's seventh collection of poetry, and after reading it my biggest regret is that I haven't read the previous six. The characters, situations, even the hard-earned insights Clewell offers, are both tangible and familiar, are parts of the real world of commuter trains, flea markets and S & H green stamps. They reflect the underbelly, the "conventional wisdom," of our culture, the whispers of incredible gas mileage kept from the public, the bumbling dark side of the CIA and its secrecy, the existence of UFOs, those rumors constantly afloat in our society. Clewell presents this accessible and recognizable world in a compelling narrative style and with a vibrant cleverness that clearly conveys his obvious delight in words, in language itself. And underneath it all, there is a love of life, a curiosity and openness that enthusiastically embraces the world in all its lovely eccentricities, an inspiring ecstasy that is at once realistic and fantastic. "And although I'd like to believe that finally enough will be / enough, that sometime soon I'll be able to contain myself, a man / of moderation at last, I really can't imagine how." We can't imagine how either, nor would we want this any other way. This book is a rare delight, rewarding and fun, the kind of book you give to your friends. Now I need to find the six that preceded it. KLIATT Codes: SA-Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 112p., Ages 15 to adult.
— James Beschta

Product Details

University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date:
Univ of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.08(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.36(d)

Meet the Author

David Clewell is the author of six poetry collections, including Blessings in Disguise, a winner in the National Poetry Series, and Now We’re Getting Somewhere, 1994 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. Clewell teaches writing and literature at Webster University in St. Louis. He has been named Poet Laureate of Missouri.

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