We Almost Disappear

Overview

"An exquisite storyteller."—The Southern Review

"David Bottoms's poems just get better and better."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"One finds here what one expects in a book of good Southern poems: clear narratives . . . evocative images, searching irony, and meditative poise." —Library Journal

Rooted in the customs of Southern families and peopled with undertakers, bluegrass musicians, daughters practicing ...

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Overview

"An exquisite storyteller."—The Southern Review

"David Bottoms's poems just get better and better."—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"One finds here what one expects in a book of good Southern poems: clear narratives . . . evocative images, searching irony, and meditative poise." —Library Journal

Rooted in the customs of Southern families and peopled with undertakers, bluegrass musicians, daughters practicing karate, and elderly parents, David Bottoms' poems are generous, insightful, and lean headlong into familial wisdom. Past and present interweave with grandmothers spitting tobacco juice, ponds "filled with construction runoff," and the boyhood home-site paved over for a KFC. This is Bottoms' most personal and heartbreaking book.

From "My Daughter Works the Heavy Bag":

A bow to the instructor,
then fighting stance, and the only girl in karate class faces the heavy bag.
Small for fifth grade—willow-like, says her mother—
sweaty hair tangled like blown willow branches.

The boys try to ignore her. They fidget against the wall, smirk,
practice their routine of huff and feint.
Circle, barks the instructor,
jab, circle, kick, and the black bag wobbles on its chain.

Again and again, the bony jewels of her fist jab out in glistening precision,
her flawless legs remember arabesque and glissade.
Kick, jab, kick, and the bag coughs rhythmically from its gut.

The boys fidget and wait . . .

David Bottom, Georgia's Poet Laureate, was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2009. He teaches at Georgia State University and co-edits Five Points magazine. He lives in Marietta, Georgia.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bottoms (Waltzing Through the Endtime) fits comfortably into the grand Southern literary tradition, with a delightful facility for language and a keen awareness of place, even as he tips and turns both to his own advantage: "Bump and jostle, the road falling fast into rut, ditch, washout,/ pines cuffing the windows, and me in the cab/ a constant bounce between my old man and my uncle/ as we bring up the tail." He writes with a sure yet casual rhythm and an attention to detail, especially locating the significant in the everyday and celebrating the everyday for its own significance. These are intimate, personal poems, much closer to the heart than his earlier collections. In poems for a lost youth, a country of childhood and innocence, we understand how, among the older men of his family, "mostly there was silence, as though they'd all agreed/ the world was beyond comment." The book's last section, featuring poems about Bottoms's father and the hard truth and trials of aging, will be most haunting. VERDICT Bottoms is again at the top of his game, smart, passionate, and compassionate. This collection will appeal to all readers of contemporary poetry.—Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556593314
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 9/20/2011
  • Pages: 110
  • Sales rank: 1,426,784
  • Product dimensions: 8.48 (w) x 5.56 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bottoms: David Bottom has served as Georgia’s Poet Laureate and was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2009. He teaches at Georgia State University and co-edits Five Points magazine. His first book, Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump, won the Walt Whitman Award; he has also received the Ingram Merrill Award, Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize, the Georgia Author of the Year Award, the Frederick Bock Prize, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Additionally, he has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He lives in Marietta, Georgia.

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