Second Nature: Poems

Overview

John Witte's poetry sweeps the reader immediately into its crosscurrents, its passionate engagement and its ambivalence. Composed of staggered tercets, the poems in Second Nature track the chaotic rush and swerve of life as we live it. Wide open to the world, Witte writes with uncommon energy and urgency and his vision is exhilarating.

Second Nature teems with expertly realized lyrics, monologues, and narratives, as well as poems based on historical figures from Ovid to Janis ...

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Overview

John Witte's poetry sweeps the reader immediately into its crosscurrents, its passionate engagement and its ambivalence. Composed of staggered tercets, the poems in Second Nature track the chaotic rush and swerve of life as we live it. Wide open to the world, Witte writes with uncommon energy and urgency and his vision is exhilarating.

Second Nature teems with expertly realized lyrics, monologues, and narratives, as well as poems based on historical figures from Ovid to Janis Joplin. The metaphors for human endurance, and the transformative power of art and community, are accurate and rich. Alert to the dangers of love and loss, Witte finds his poems where sorrow and transcendence converge. Like birds singing their "desperate psalm" in a clear-cut, his poems bring us a rare kind of hope.

University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

The Antioch Review
Much of Second Nature is written in what Witte calls 'whiplash triplets,' minimally punctuated, heavily enjambed three-line stanzas, in which each successive line lengthens. The form demands that we follow syntax closely, keeping us awake to language. It also allows Witte great freedom to switch topic and location. Juxtapositions go unannounced; phrases and images simply run together. Witte counts on us to experience the friction.... the light-hand is apiece with Witte's calm intelligence. This generous, humble collection sings about our joy, but neither naively nor 'too loud.'.
Midwest Book Review
Using skilled and expert verse to explain his views of the world, human nature, and history, his message is optimistic and uplifting, as well as poignant and powerful.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
[A] resonant collection of poems from a life closely observed.... [the] eighth volume in the excellent Pacific Northwest Poetry Series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295992914
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 2/8/2013
  • Series: Pacific Northwest Poetry Series
  • Pages: 98
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John Witte 's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and numerous anthologies. The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, he lives in Eugene, Oregon, where he teaches at the University of Oregon.

University of Washington Press

John Witte 's poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and, among numerous anthologies, The Norton Introduction to Literature. The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, he lives with his family in Eugene, Oregon, where he teaches at the University of Oregon and edits Northwest Review. Second Nature is his third book of poetry.

University of Washington Press

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Table of Contents

1 Roots 1

Falling Blossoms 3

His Cap 4

That 5

From 6

The Sound Barrier 7

Sartre's Eye 8

His Dreams 9

Swath 10

Tick 11

The Pledge 12

Helicopter Ride 13

Interrogation 14

Obit 15

2 Begats 17

Newborn 19

The Seed 20

Iris Innominata 21

Naming 22

Likeness 23

Grace 24

Palenque 25

Daycare 26

Fugue for Josie 27

Anna's Horses 28

The Heavenly Ladder 29

Ark 30

Auto Zoo 31

Clearcut 32

Captivity 33

The Ocean 34

Why 35

Snail 36

3 Impersonations 37

Ovid 101 39

Lorenzo Lotto 40

Durer's Pillow 41

Joseph of Copertino 42

John Chapman 43

Louis Braille 44

Diary of Agnes Stewart 45

Frontier Clockmaker 46

Joseph Mason 47

Bailey at Sea 48

Oz 49

Heinrich Muller 50

Janis Joplin 51

Apparition 52

4 Birdman 53

Five I Weeds 65

The Heart 67

Reconciliation 68

Shoo 69

Billiards After the Service 70

Truck 71

This Being 72

Ten Reasons to Dread the

Wind 73

Restoration 74

Whim 75

The Gift 76

Nearly Asleep I Remember 77

Switchyard 78

Parachute 79

Home 80

It Wasn't That 81

Acknowledgments 83

About the Poet 85

A Note on the Type 86

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