Florida Poems

Florida Poems

by Campbell McGrath

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060527365
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/04/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 1,323,939
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.24(d)

About the Author

Campbell McGrath is the author of nine previous books, eight of them available from Ecco Press. He has received numerous prestigious awards for his poetry, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been published in the New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, the Paris Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and Ploughshares, among other prominent publications, and his poetry is represented in dozens of anthologies. He teaches in the MFA program at Florida International University, and lives with his family in Miami Beach.

Read an Excerpt

A City in the Clouds

1. The First Days

Nobody knew how the alligators had come to live in the
but there they were, brutishly snarling and snapping
around the feet of the first, courageous citizens to
at which point it was too late to do anything but smile
and learn to live with them, small concern at a moment
of such significance, in a world of such size and wonderment,
and anyway the alligators felt no urging toward
and soon migrated spraddle-legged and bellowing
to the far outlying cloudlands and were seldom seen again
for many years, and anyway it was all smiles, or mostly,
in those first, halcyon, most splendid of days.

It was a time of solidarity and joy, a golden age
of amazement at their audacity and luck
when the tasks of managing a new life in the stratosphere
were mastered with harmonic grace and wisdom,
serenity absorbed by nimbus of star-fall or moon-rise
to gild them as obelisks on a miraculous plateau
and cast their shadows as laughing masks
against the corrugated damask of that realm.

Great works were undertaken: the drafting of laws,
the balancing of rights and obligations. Fields were planted.
The water-harvesting machinery was assembled
and turned on; cisterns and storage ponds filled slowly
but inexorably with unrained water, liquid measure
of the blessings of present fortune and future promise.
Communal edifices were surveyed and dedicated,
lyceum and civic center, an amphitheater for town
Flexible dwellings of thatchand mesh were woven,
simple but sturdy, in accordance with their needs,
terraces and plazas, spires and cupolas and palisades,
orchid gardens with rain-fountains hewn from the living
and cantilevered footpaths cast in gulf-straddling arcs
to accommodate the magisterial vista of the world below
and the spidering industry of construction above as
day after day, week after week, a city arose in the sky.

Florida Poems. Copyright © by Campbell McGrath. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Dionisio Martinez

“[Florida Poems] is part Walt Disney, part Old Testament. [McGrath] possesses and displays extraordinary dexterity.”

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