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Overview

“Joe Wenderoth is a brilliant writer, original and subversive, sensitive and strange. I read his work with awe and admiration.”—Ben Marcus

“Joe Wenderoth's brave new poetic talent is like nothing so much as a live wire writing its own epitaph in sparks. [His poems] throb brilliantly with a sense of the 'too much.' . . . But in Wenderoth's case the too much is the too little or the too ordinary—a very remarkable discovery to have made so late in the history of poetry. Philip Larkin and a few American poets have approached it, but Wenderoth's instrument is sharper than theirs; he makes quick cuts in the meat of the ordinary, which is the meat of the impossible.”—Cal Bedient

This clear-eyed new work from a favorite young poet is searching and solemn, dissatisfied with artificial condolences and pat maxims. Joe Wenderoth’s determination in the face of harsh realities is what rescues us, and him, from hopelessness.

“Luck”

So a screaming woke you
just in time
An animal’s scream, or animals’.
What kind of animal it was
doesn’t matter, and cannot,
in any case, be determined.
The point is you are saved.
Your mouth has been opened.

Joe Wenderoth grew up near Baltimore and is the author of five books of prose and poetry. He teaches at the University of California, Davis.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Best-known for his gritty and uproarious prose poetry collection Letters to Wendy's (2000), Wenderoth began his career with two books of gimlet-eyed, world-weary, hard-hitting poetry. Now he returns to verse, favoring (as before) relatively short poems, often 12 lines or fewer, most of which crackle with a bleakness that's part gallows humor, part outrage, and part despair, as in "God's Plan," quoted in full: "First you are caused to careen and/ or stagger/ through situations of indescribable appeal / and mind-breaking vertiginous sadness./ Then you are smothered." Some of these bare-bones lyrics are stunning; others reach for an incisiveness or boldness they don't quite achieve. Longer meditative and narrative poems bookend and appear throughout the volume, offering a more complicated, nuanced version of Wenderoth's sensibility than the short poems do. Whether recollecting past slackerdom ("I moved my pills and little t.v. from city to city") or considering his own or others' maladjustment ("Your soul is a million dollars cash/ and you're playing blackjack/ five dollars a hand."), it's in the longer pieces that Wenderoth is at his most affecting, revealing the adversity and vulnerability behind the cynicism, and delivering some of the most authentically disenchanted poetry to come from Generation X. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933517223
  • Publisher: Wave Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Joe Wenderoth grew up near Baltimore. He is the author of five books of prose and poetry, including Letters to Wendy's (Verse Press, 2000). He teaches at the University of California, Davis.
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