Pennsylvania Collection Agency: Poems

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Overview


Poetry. The "lost book." "PENNSYLVANIA COLLECTION AGENCY, the ninth book from Michael Burkard, is comprised of poems written in 1986 but withheld from publication until now. This volume utilizes the unifying structure of a single year in the poetÝs life as an organizing principle. Burkard has been quietly accumulating one of the most fascinating verse biographies we have, and in this book we visit old territories in unexpectedly candid poems about alcoholism, beauty, and the poetÝs childhood. Burkard further emblazons the arc of theme and language that is beginning to coalesce into one of the most distinguishable formal and emotional landscapes in contemporary poetry" --David Dodd Lee.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Two new small-press titles rescue under- or unpublished work from well-known poets. Written over a decade ago but withheld from publication, Burkard's ninth book of poems is his second to arrive this year, his Unsleeping (Forecasts, Dec. 18, 2000) having just appeared in February. What emerges through these diaristic poems of the mid-'80s is a portrait of an alcoholic acquainted with violence but not quite on the road to recovery. We get glimpses of an unhappy childhood, of the internal compulsion to drink and of an adult who is both abandoned by loved ones and left to find consolation through poetry: "I ask the night to have a heart,/ a small word or two, a mouth/ to speak to you from and two lips to kiss you." The poems in this volume were mostly passed over when the selected Entire Dilemma (1998) was being assembled; that volume continues to represent Burkard at his best. A rolling repository of narrative incidentals, Nye's Mint Snowball, some of which was first published in 1991 as Mint, playfully documents Nye's chance encounters with friendly cab drivers, smalltown restaurateurs and fellow travelers from Texas to Nepal. The title, harkening back to her great-grandfather's recipe for shaved ice and mint syrup, points to the author's effort to retrieve the refreshing particulars of the everyday histories of common people: "Who are we now as opposed to all those earlier selves? I vow to find out. The life of poetry pins us to the minute. Do we fit?" Disjointed and sometimes cacophonous voices enter the fray, but Nye's own story as an American-born Palestinian locates the commonalities among the different groups of people that she writes about. Readers familiar with the economy of language that is characteristic of her previous seven collections of poetry may be disappointed by the limited lyric handiwork in this new book, but these 58 short narratives have a touching anecdotal quality perhaps more reflective of her technique as an author of children's books. (May 15) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930974005
  • Publisher: New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Series: New Issues Poetry and Prose Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 93
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.79 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Burkard is the author of more than ten collections of poetry, most recently Envelope of Night (Selected and Uncollected Poems, 1966-1990), published by Nightboat Books in 2008. In addition, hundreds of his poems have been published in such prominent little magazines as the American Poetry Review, which gave him the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Award in 1984, 1985, and 1999, and Ploughshares, which honored him with its Denise and Mel Cohen Award in 1986. He received the Whiting Writers' Award from the Whiting Foundation in 1988, and his poems have been included in four of the Best American Poetry anthologies (2000, 2001, 2004, and 2005) and he won a Pushcart Prize, in 1988.
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