Quarters

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A collection of poetry by James Harms.
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Overview

A collection of poetry by James Harms.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although Harms's third book has plenty of well-made poems, it's distinguished largely by how they fit together. Harms (The Joy Addict) for the most part writes free-verse stories, portraits, snapshots and essays about contemporary middle- and working-class life divorces, rough childhoods, freeways, beaches and other features, in particular, of southern California, though certain poems range east to deserts and other, older cities. In one poem, a young girl thinks about calling her absent father; in another, "Jessica and a boy she'll remember" explore an amusement park on "the last day/ of summer, 1967." One long-lined, essayistic poem discovers that the largest "gang" in L.A. is "not Bloods or Crips but the resigned/ and dispirited, those who've given up and just drive." Two poems remember dead musicians: one depicts the crowded funeral of the bluegrass musician Bill Monroe, and the other takes "Tea" with Kurt Cobain (a fairly painful reading experience for anyone who really likes Cobain's music). Fans of Philip Levine or David Wojahn will find a lot to like in some of Harms's individual poems, but little that's wholly new. The trick is that somewhere in each poem, Harms has placed a quarter. In the first, a parent drops 25 cents into a supermarket toy; in the last, a widower remembers how his late wife wore "a small woven sack on a string, and in it... a quarter" for an emergency call. In between, quarters help children play jacks, animate jukeboxes, become playing pieces in father-son checkers and even get melted down for ammunition. While Harms's conceit suggests that it's the small change, and small changes, of life that hold us together, most readers will demand more varied currency for poetry. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887483523
  • Publisher: Carnegie-Mellon University Press
  • Publication date: 2/21/2001
  • Series: Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series
  • Pages: 72
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

JAMES HARMS is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Modern Ocean (1992) and The Joy Addict (1998), which was awarded the PEN/Revson Fellowship. He lives with his wife, Paige Muendel, and their two children in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he directs the creative writing program at West Virginia University.
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Table of Contents

Helicopter

ONE
Legacy
Divorce
Treasure
Names
Pride
Laundromat

TWO
Photo
Dance
Bruise
Choose
Faith
Votive

THREE
Fountain
Now
Gridlock
Tea
Phonebooth
Wire

FOUR
Moral
Fable
Bluegrass
Piper
Abstinence
Soon

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