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People on Sunday
     

People on Sunday

by Geoffrey G. O'Brien
 

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"O'Brien's [is] a poetry that asks for patient attention, and gives back all the void's abundance."—Rain Taxi

"Whether in a poem composed using words and phrases from the Patriot Act, a sestina with dauntingly common repeating end words, or in flat-out theory, O'Brien shows himself to be capable of portraying the muddled traffic of life in the

Overview

"O'Brien's [is] a poetry that asks for patient attention, and gives back all the void's abundance."—Rain Taxi

"Whether in a poem composed using words and phrases from the Patriot Act, a sestina with dauntingly common repeating end words, or in flat-out theory, O'Brien shows himself to be capable of portraying the muddled traffic of life in the Internet age."—Publishers Weekly (starred review for Metropole)

In his most autobiographical collection to date, Geoffrey G. O'Brien explores—via the "promise of happiness" in great works of art—the dream of a working freedom not relegated to Sundays. Crossing traditional poetic material with contemporary political struggle, O'Brien captures the complex feelings of the present.

Here again just a few minutes
To see what we've done with what they let us have.
Like spring in Washington, D.C.
The way we're taught to imagine days

As reprieves from other days, cherries snowing
Inexpressiveness, the nation's capital
An experience of how it is to be
Caught up in pink and white again.

Geoffrey G. O'Brien is the author of Metropole (2011), Green and Gray (2007), and The Guns and Flags Project (2002), all from University of California Press. He is the co-author (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets: Ashbery, Donnelly, O'Brien (Minus A Press, 2012). O'Brien teaches at UC Berkeley and also for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/26/2013
O’Brien’s fourth collection draws its title from the 1930 German silent film on the interwar period. O’Brien’s poems, which vacillate between atmospheric dreaminess and cognitive clarity to great effect, draw from the news, history, and daily urban life. One timely poem, “Thanatopsis” (Greek: a meditation on death), refers, almost prophetically, to the Trayvon Martin case: “Keep us from having a stand your ground/ law to address weeks of solid rain/ …. And a public square, the path between them/ Traced by daylight saving time/ Over the freedom of George Zimmerman.” The speaker’s stream-of-consciousness suggests the mind’s slow circling landing on insights through a form of synesthesia: “The sound was like picking sad battles,/ The red that white imagines yellow is.” At his best, O’Brien balances elliptical philosophical queries with lyricism: “The peaceful transfer of/ Power from the past to the future// Sees the end of a present, escorted/ By sand”; and elsewhere, “I had three tasks: finish, cease, and stop./ I had the single method: wait like form/ On the inside of the outside, made/ Of being made.” Not all of these poems are so accessible, and their titles frequently draw from Latin and Greek, suggesting a love of rarified knowledge. Still, this proves to be an intriguing, thoughtful, and ambitiously layered collection, drawing from the past to hold a mirror to the present. (Sept.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781933517728
Publisher:
Wave Books
Publication date:
09/03/2013
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)

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Meet the Author


Geoffrey G. O’Brien is the author of Metropole (2011), Green and Gray (2007), and The Guns and Flags Project (2002), all from The University of California Press. His chapbooks include Hesiod (Song Cave, 2010), and Poem with No Good Lines (Hand Held Editions, 2010). He is the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets: Ashbery, Donnelly, O’Brien (Minus A Press, 2012) and (in collaboration with the poet Jeff Clark) of 2A (Quemadura, 2006). O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.

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