Vagrant Grace

Overview

David Bottoms has a breathtaking ability to capture human tenderness, vulnerability, and cruelty in the brief turn of a line. Grounded in the contemporary South, his poems often witness people in their moments of failure, as their fantasies and families collapse around them, as they weep at gravesides, as they recognize their own fading image in the bathroom mirror.

"One cannot read Bottoms without being nerve-touched by his sardonic yet compassionate country-man's voice, his ...

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Overview

David Bottoms has a breathtaking ability to capture human tenderness, vulnerability, and cruelty in the brief turn of a line. Grounded in the contemporary South, his poems often witness people in their moments of failure, as their fantasies and families collapse around them, as they weep at gravesides, as they recognize their own fading image in the bathroom mirror.

"One cannot read Bottoms without being nerve-touched by his sardonic yet compassionate country-man's voice, his hunter's irony."- James Dickey

David Bottoms' first book, Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump, was chosen by Robert Penn Warren as winner of the 1979 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared widely in magazines such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Harper's, Poetry, and The Paris Review, as well as in numerous anthologies. He is author of several books of poetry as well as two novels. Among his other awards are the Levinson Prize, an Ingram-Merrill Award, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. An avid guitarist and fisherman, he divides his time between Georgia and Montana.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What father doesn't seek to build a world where his daughter will be safe? In his sixth collection, Bottoms (Armored Hearts: New & Selected Poems) records this act of creation. He succeeds in grand style, in part because he focuses on the world beyond his family. A 16-year-old girl raped in Sarajevo makes him think of Rachel; Rachel wheezing in her sleep calls to mind Civil War battles. But for all the straightforward simplicity in the first two sections, Bottoms knows how to be mysterious as well. Half lyric, half narrative, "Country Store and Moment of Grace," the volume's long centerpiece, has something to do with the South, his grandfather's grocery store, and racial tensions. Beyond that, we have to read and reread and let the words weave their own impressions. Unfortunately, the book's fourth section, crafted poems that could have been written by anyone, is a letdown. The final section, revolving around his uncle's life, recoups some of the earlier power, just not enough. Recommended, but with reservations.--Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556591297
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bottoms, Poet Laureate of Georgia, teaches at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is the author of four books of poetry and is the founding editor of Five Points magazine. His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and Harper's. He is an avid guitar player, mandolin player, and fan of bluegrass and old-time country music.

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Table of Contents

Bronchitis 5
On Methodist Hill 8
A Family Parade 11
The Widower 17
Souvenir 19
Fallout 21
Flower in My Father's Parlor 23
An Owl 25
Night Strategies 27
The Fisherman and the Little Fish 29
Our Presbyterian Christmas 31
My Daughter at the Gymnastics Party 32
Their Father's Tattoo 33
Country Store and Moment of Grace 37
A Walk to Carter's Lake 59
A Canoe 61
Night Company 63
Heron Blues 65
Living Lingerie: In the Modeling Parlor 67
Steve Belew Plays the National Steel 69
A Room on Washington Avenue 71
At the Grave of Martha Ellis 73
A Morning from the Gospel of John 75
In the Wilderness 76
My Uncle Sowing Beatitudes 81
A Sunday Dinner 84
Occurrence in the Big Sky 88
Notes 93
About the Author 95
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