Your Moon


Poetry. "Ralph Angel possesses what every poet dreams of—a warm heart and a cold eye—and all of his poems have a foothold between Everything and Nothing, the place each of us lives in day in and day out, though we seldom recognize or admit it the way these poems do. Many of them unfold like a ravishing film to which a voice-over adds such haunting commentary we are surprised to reach the end and realize we have been reading. His vernacular arrests me. A thread of wild and somber beauty runs through this book by ...
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Poetry. "Ralph Angel possesses what every poet dreams of—a warm heart and a cold eye—and all of his poems have a foothold between Everything and Nothing, the place each of us lives in day in and day out, though we seldom recognize or admit it the way these poems do. Many of them unfold like a ravishing film to which a voice-over adds such haunting commentary we are surprised to reach the end and realize we have been reading. His vernacular arrests me. A thread of wild and somber beauty runs through this book by one of America's most original poets."—Mary Ruefle
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Angel’s fifth collection (after Exceptions and Melancholies) opens with a description of a person who could be any one of us: “Someone has been sleeping. Someone’s/ heading nowhere.” The assured uneasiness—or is it uneasy assurance?—that characterizes these lines pursues the speaker through a series of meditations on death, love, and the work of time, in which the speaker “puts a naked eye/ to things, and makes them/ beautiful.” These poems, as stark as they are spare, track with shrewdness and humor the thoughts of a mind that has come to recognize it shares its world with loss. The result is a poetics that is both disembodied and preoccupied with the body’s inevitable irrelevance. “So relax,” says a voice that’s as confident in itself as it is in itself disappearing, “take your feet/ off—nobody’s/ missing. There are many parts/ of the mind.” Here, thinking is figured through a syntax that fractures our sense of time as linear, and makes the physical world appear more like the mind: “Or there you are// and how you came/ to hate me. Or how ideas/ come to me.” Like ideas, Angel’s poems take root in the mind with ease, and blossom into a complexity that continues past the page, long after the body of the book has been shut. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936970230
  • Publisher: New Issues Poetry & Prose, Western Michigan University
  • Publication date: 3/24/2014
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 783,186
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph Angel is the author of five books of poetry: YOUR MOON (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2014); Exceptions and Melancholies: Poems 1986-2006 (2007 PEN USA Poetry Award); Twice Removed; Neither World (James Laughlin Award of The Academy of American Poets); and Anxious Latitudes; as well as a translation of the Federico García Lorca collection, Poema del cante jondo / Poem of the Deep Song. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, both here and abroad, and recent literary awards include a gift from the Elgin Cox Trust, a Pushcart Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award, the Willis Barnstone Poetry Translation Prize, a Fulbright Foundation fellowship and the Bess Hokin Award of the Modern Poetry Association. Mr. Angel is Edith R. White Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Redlands, and a member of the MFA Program in Writing faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Originally from Seattle, he lives in Los Angeles.
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Read an Excerpt

Your Moon

By Ralph Angel, William Olsen

New Issues Poetry & Prose

Copyright © 2014 Ralph Angel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-936970-23-0


    The Wind Will Carry Us

    for Abbas Kiarostami

    Someone has been sleeping. Someone's
    heading nowhere.

    This is the winding road. Then there's a solitary
    tree, and after that, nothing,

    If someone asks, say I'm
    looking for buried treasure. Such a lovely
    village. You've hidden it so well.

    I haven't hidden anything. Our ancestors
    built it here.

    See that blue window, near the lady
    sitting on the steps. Let's
    go higher. I will

    show you. Here's your

    We have a sack of apples. We have
    fresh bread. You won't
    get another chance

    like this. On judgment day
    it's obvious. I'm used to it. I work
    here. If you stay a while longer, you'll
    get used to it, too.

    When I was little, and someone
    told me a secret, I always wanted to reveal it.
    And, eventually, I did.

    If you come into my house
    oh kind one, bring me a lamp
    and a window

    through which I can watch the crowd
    in the happy street."

    I'm sorry to disturb you.

    You're welcome.
    This is my normal route.

    Three Minutes and Sixty Years

    A mere
    shrug of atmosphere—
    and then the fog
    coughing up some buildings, and then
    the smell of rain just inside
    the door—
    puts a naked eye
    to things, and makes them

    your phone is like
    losing your mind. It's like
    a fountain—
    the door's wide open—
    the words
    tall buildings make
    speak mostly to pigeons
    and styrofoam

    Get out.
    Get out of my cab
    he said. Wake up.
    It's different.

    Nude with Pebbles

    Flowers fall. And I noticed
    before I stood again and folded up the paper and rinsed my cup
    their artifice. I myself

    was fifty when I murdered, I don't know.
    I'm here to break again my knuckles
    or break them back. I'm here

    to hate the wall and love especially the contours
    of the coast and a city
    further south.

    For several moments more a deer looked at me
    and ate some shrubs. And overhead
    a raven

    just like ravens do.

    You are the shakes
    and rhythm. You are the way that you've not seen before
    that brings you

    to yourself
    again. A feeling digs you up, and look, the air is hung
    with pictures. A nude

    with pebbles. A nude with glass. A nude
    unwrapping bandages.

    The subject is a non-thing. I breathed
    the sweetness of the air. Jasmine I could smell
    and eucalyptus, olive trees

    and cypress, an iron gate.
    We are in our robes again, you won't remember.
    You have found

    a chicken sandwich. You are plotting out
    your day. Maybe you'll go swimming. The bottom's
    soft and old

    and further out
    the fields are screaming. Lazy yellow fields of sunflowers
    in this dry heat, and you alone out there,

    or rather, us.

    Venetian Blind

    At first you couldn't care less
    but later on told me that you hadn't been out
    except after dark
    for a couple years or so.
    I can't sleep

    you said. Let me lay my head
    upon you.

    Me too
    I said. I'm always hungry. The cafe wasn't
    very full. When your
    mind's made up

    there's no one

    But that's just it
    you said. I


    You're the Rub

    Murmured in loneliness, round and round.
    Let's not go inside. The cliffs drop off, and the ocean's
    a friend—on the boardwalk
    enough people alone
    have died.
    So relax, take your feet
    missing. There are many parts
    of the mind. On that old
    open day we let out our long green grass. A night's passed
    and you expected it
    to be there.
    You're the rub—the love
    that loves the love. I like especially the puddles
    and your wire. I like your mud.
    I like your part
    of it.

    Chinese Umbrella

    You're right
    of course about the ordinary emotions. The larger
    our hearts were the more tranquil
    the flight. A handful
    of people pushed past us

    into the terminal. We grabbed
    a cab there and

    For the rest of my life
    I loved the high ceilings and the sweating
    fires. The sun

    in the water. It's cold there
    and fabulous.

    For the rest of my life
    my eyelids were broken. The curtains
    are thin. There's

    bread in the market and whatever
    the boats


    In short I am making adjustments.
    You on a tiled

    bench in the courtyard. You stepping
    off of a Vespa. You
    under a Chinese

    Now we're in a noisy
    restaurant at night. You are luminous
    and warm

    and I am afraid again.

    Don't leave
    I say. You shake your head

    a little and lean
    closer. I want you to stay
    I say

    but you still can't
    hear me

    and never

    Tested Here on Earth

    Tonight, brief as it is, the wind has met the leaves. Your moon is
    mostly red and anxious. There's no way out. Behind this
    window, songbirds

    flit about the tapestries. Like you, they welcome sleeplessness and
    understand the future. Like you, they sing and sing and

    Tonight, brief as it is, the wind calls out. Behind this window, the
    wayside never answers. Spring came sliding

    up the scaffolding, and the angels at the top burn perfectly. My
    voice doesn't weigh a thing. Tonight, the night's

    thrown down. I accept the challenge. Hello, nature,

    you want to kill me.


    So I took a walk
    inside. You're alone
    when morning
    Watching you sleep in
    is better

    than oatmeal,
    even Irish
    that thing you do
    so well.

    When you were a fish
    you were a salmon.
    I know, I'm
    slow, I

    November's a nice day
    to be. The ocean's
    Your fog


    So I
    talked to I, I said
    fuck death, everyone
    I meet knows

    I know. I said
    it's nice to be happy,

    but no one

    Take your time,
    my love. The logs have lit
    the fire.
    The sweet scent
    of your hair

    my mouth, and I
    kiss you back,
    and pour
    the tea.


    Some other
    time white feathers

    blow all across
    the lawn.

    We get up
    when we want to. We're

    high on the hill.
    I suppose

    one has to be really out of it
    for a while

    to taste the love
    that lags

    us. What else do we want

    to be? Walking
    hand in hand

    in a garden we've yet to

    In the tenderest
    humidity. In the cicada's

    persistence. Our love
    a laurel

    on the surface
    of a pool.


    Were you guilty of something
    your story would wear a black suit
    and come to an end.
    I leave you alone.
    I mop up the afterlife
    and slick back
    its hair.

    The sun blows so hard
    the leaves have returned to their trees.
    Their eyes are wide open.
    Saltwater fish

    through the streets.

    The pedestrian said there was sad
    and oh how it would be
    more interesting
    to paint

    her skin and hair.

    Were I naked now
    and am.


Excerpted from Your Moon by Ralph Angel, William Olsen. Copyright © 2014 Ralph Angel. Excerpted by permission of New Issues Poetry & Prose.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


The Wind Will Carry Us, 7,
Three Minutes and Sixty Years, 13,
Nude with Pebbles, 14,
Venetian Blind, 16,
You're the Rub, 17,
Chinese Umbrella, 18,
Tested Here on Earth, 20,
Conversation, 21,
Gall, 23,
Now, 24,
Three Figures, 29,
Face, 30,
Tame Me, 31,
Panic, 32,
Untitled, 33,
Willing, 35,
Agnes, 36,
The Traffic Is Going down the Hills, 37,
What's Fair Is Fair, 38,
Erasure, 39,
Other Means, 40,
Holding You Sober Close to Me, 41,
Nature, 42,
All Night Long, 43,
Bright Example, 47,
But Not in Life, 48,
Blue Hydrangea, 49,
Green Yarn, 50,
Being Back, 52,
Fear of Death, 53,
Anne Frank, 55,
Skin, 56,
The Heckler, 57,
Vacuum Cleaner, 58,
Only Quiet, 60,
Talking Smack with Saints, 61,
Dying, 62,
What I'm Thinking, 63,
Afar, 64,

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