The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems [NOOK Book]

Overview

“[B. H. Fairchild] is the American voice at its best: confident and conflicted, celebratory and melancholic.”—New York Times

Gathering works from five of B. H. Fairchild's previous volumes stretching over thirty years, and adding twenty-six brilliant new poems, The Blue Buick showcases the career of a poet who represents "the American voice at its best: confident and conflicted, celebratory and melancholic" (New York Times).

Fairchild's poetry covers a wide range, both ...

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The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems

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Overview

“[B. H. Fairchild] is the American voice at its best: confident and conflicted, celebratory and melancholic.”—New York Times

Gathering works from five of B. H. Fairchild's previous volumes stretching over thirty years, and adding twenty-six brilliant new poems, The Blue Buick showcases the career of a poet who represents "the American voice at its best: confident and conflicted, celebratory and melancholic" (New York Times).

Fairchild's poetry covers a wide range, both geographically and intellectually, though it finds its center in the rural Midwest: in oilfields and dying small towns, in taverns, baseball fields, one-screen movie theaters, and skies "vast, mysterious, and bored." Ultimately, its cultural scope—where Mozart stands beside Patsy Cline, with Grunewald, Gödel, and Rothko only a subway ride from the Hollywood films of the 1950s—transcends region and decade to explore the relationship of memory to the imagination and the mysteries of time and being. And finally there is the character of Roy Eldridge Garcia, a machinist/poet/philosopher who sees in the landscape and silence of the high plains the held breath of the earth, "as if we haven't quite begun to exist. That coming into being still going on."

From the machine work elevated to high art that is the subject of The Arrival of the Future (1985) to the despairing dreamers of Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (2002) to the panoramic, voice-driven structure of Usher (2009), Fairchild's work, "meaty, maximalist, driven by narrative, stakes out an American mythos" (David Ulin, Los Angeles Times).

From "The Blue Buick:"
A boy standing on a rig deck looks across the plains.
A woman walks from a trailer to watch the setting sun.
A man stands beside a lathe, lighting a cigar.
Imagined or remembered, a girl in Normandy
Sings across a sea, that something may remain.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/29/2014
The working-class men of Great Plains small towns face the literary past and the uneasy American future in the moving, pellucid, expertly assembled lines of Fairchild, winner of National Book Critics Circle Award for Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (2002). Youth in Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Texas, as well as small-town isolation and blue-collar pride, animate most of his scenes. Fairchild, who teaches at the University of North Texas, also weaves single poems together into an expanding whole: the title poem, for example, introduces Fairchild's star-crossed mentor, Roy Elridge Garcia, as "the only man my father hired again/ after he showed up drunk." Garcia, who died of complications from epilepsy, also attempted a literary career, and so Fairchild, as an homage, reprints Garcia's own prose poems, which in fact Fairchild wrote: Garcia is an invented character, though realistically described. Other characters include "redneck surrealist/ who, drunk, one Friday night tried to hold up the local 7-Eleven/ with a caulking gun," and the "hitchhiker sick to death of hunger," who alongside the poet himself, was "cutting weeds and sunflowers on the shoulder." Fairchild's story-oriented style wears its considerable learning lightly; this sixth collection, his first new-and-selected, might break him out of the critics'-darling status that has long seemed inappropriate for such a democratic voice. (Aug.)
Michael Collier
“What Sherwood Anderson, E. A. Robinson, and James Wright mined from their locales, Fairchild has perfected from his Oklahoma Panhandle, and that is to show that no matter how isolated in time and space, no matter how cut off from its dreams, the human spirit persists in believing that it is 'on the edge of something, something rare.' The Blue Buick is a magnificent and important addition to the grain of American poetry.”
Robin Becker
“This book gathers essential poems from B. H. Fairchild's epic exploration of contemporary American masculinity…Virtuosic narratives, portraits, and quiet lyrics offer 'the heart’s dream / of art’s divinity' as they illuminate myths and heroes, gritty realities, and triumphal moments of insight. I cherish these poems for their supple elegance and felt wisdom.”
Mark Jarman
“[Fairchild's] unique power is in leading his dead from the field of personal memory and into the living history of the poem. We have had poets like this – Randall Jarrell, James Wright, Richard Hugo – inheritors of the legacy of Robert Frost. At this time, B. H. Fairchild stands almost alone in this tradition. We are lucky to have him.”
Ray Olson - Booklist
“One of the most readable poets of our time… [The Blue Buick] confirm[s] that his matter and his manner have been consistent throughout his career, as has the high quality of his achievement… This is poetry of the extraordinary ordinary, nonpareil.”
John Freeman - Boston Globe
“The poetry of B.H. Fairchild is a cause of celebration… Noisy, visually arresting poems, full of occult weather systems, the barbed nostalgia of a man born into one world, now inhabiting another… [Fairchild] has spent a lifetime singing the body electric of small, dying towns, day-laborers and the beers at the end of their day, the pressure it puts on the man who must remember it all.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393243987
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/14/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 269 KB

Meet the Author

B. H. Fairchild, the author of several acclaimed poetry collections and a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, has been a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Bobbitt National Prize. He teaches in the creative writing PhD program at the University of North Texas.
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