The Whole Truth


A reissuing of The Whole Truth, the debut collection of poetry by James Cummins.

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A reissuing of The Whole Truth, the debut collection of poetry by James Cummins.

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What People Are Saying

Richard Howard
"To say that Cummins's performance is spirited, even high-spirited, is not enough; we must say that it is inspired, and thereby feeds our cravings for knowledge, for delight."
Kathy Fagan
"If Emily Dickinson had read The Whole Truth, the top of her head would have come off and she'd have heard a fly talk jive when she died. With The Whole Truth, Jim Cummins . . . has created a pop-culture poetic sequence like no other before or since. . . . In these hilarious, inventive, and disturbing sestinas, Cummins 'gits' the language and 'gits' it right."
David Lehman
"Jim Cummins is the Michelangelo of the sestina chapel, and The Whole Truth is its ceiling. Cummins has transformed the way a lot of us think about the sestina. He uses the form not as an occasional novelty but as a central strategy for bodying forth the world in its strangeness and humor and beauty."
John Ashbery
"The remarkable thing about James Cummins's first collection is not the fact that it is made up entirely of sestinas about the Perry Mason characters, nor that he has handled this impossibly demanding form with an ease which has perhaps never been equaled. What is remarkable is the poetry that floods through the cracks in Cummins's pokerfaced facade, drenching his mock-narrative with timeless light and joy."
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JAMES CUMMINS was born in Columbus, Ohio. He received a B.A. from the University of Cincinnati and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop. His first book, The Whole Truth, was published by North Point Press in 1986; his second, Portrait in a Spoon, was issued by the University of South Carolina Press in 1997. He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and an Ingram Merrill grant, and has had poems in The Best American Poetry anthologies for 1994, 1995, and 1998. Mr. Cummins has been curator of the Elliston Poetry Collection at the University of Cincinnati since 1975, where he is also an associate professor of English.

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