In Greatest Hits, Marc Sheehan tells the story of the dispossessed better than anyone since Raymond Carver, with a lyrical élan that seems to reveal––like a brushing away of light snowfall––those things in our lives we hold most dear, whether it's an old stolen fiddle, a recycled Xmas tree, or the Portable Nietzsche one reads while on break at the factory. In a voice that is gentle yet honest, Sheehan is able to lay bare our most desperate moments and to leave in the stillness a redemption offered up by something as simple and beautiful as a blue snake gliding over stones at the edge of a grassy quarry.
|Publisher:||New Issues Poetry and Prose|
|Edition description:||1 ED|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.28(d)|
About the Author
The poet MARC SHEEHAN is a life-long Michigan resident. He has earned degrees from Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan, where he received a Major Hopwood Award in Poetry. His honors also include grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has served as Writer Center Coordinator at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, and has reviewed books for both the Lansing Capital Times and On the Town.
What People are Saying About This
“These are such well-made poems. Manifest is the sharp edge of self-editing and a careful ear. Sheehan understands the traffic between myth and biography, the space between utterance and quiet. Greatest Hits is a powerful and welcome debut.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I don't have many collections of poetry on my shelves - works by Raymond Carver, Donald Hall, and Neal Bowers are a few that come to mind. And the truth is I came to those books by first reading prose books by the authors. But the only books Marc Sheehan has published are two slim volumes of poems. Greatest Hits was his first one, and it came out over ten years ago. (This year he published his second collection, Vengeful Hymns, which I'll be getting to soon.) A poet for probably thirty-five years, Sheehan obviously has no illusions about his craft or how it fits in the overall scheme of today's world. Indeed, in one of his poems here, "On Being an Adult," in which he meditates on his own life and that of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, there is a telling line which says, "... in America we don't read poems." Of course, he's right. We are a country who prefers Rambo to Rimbaud. (Although I think the pronunciation is very similar, if Van Morrison got it right, I mean.) And I'm guilty too. I don't read poetry - usually. And yet I found myself caught up in these poems. The subjects, although viscerally personal, are also universal. Love found and then lost; marriages gone awry; feelings of failure, loneliness and despair. In "First Marriage," - a casually entered upon college contract:"They found their rings in a velvet-lined box of costume jewelry in a head shop just off campus. Their wedding photos show the two of them wearing the tell-tale goofy grins of very good Columbian ..."Showing perhaps lessons learned, "Second Marriage" portrays a groom who "knows how to fix almost anything he can work a wrench around. And what he doesn't know he is determined this time to figure out, or live with broke."But there is, too, a sense of humor here, as there has to be. And a sense of a rural childhood and things nearly forgotten that made me smile in remembrance, "like the cry we used to raise from long blades of grass stretched taut between the thumbs and held to the mouth ..." ("Pheasant Season"). I still make those caw-ing sounds of varying pitch with a flat blade of quack grass to please my grandsons, who are not yet old enough to master this arcane farmboy skill - but soon, soon. And maybe one day they will show their sons and grandsons, like my father showed me. And like someone once showed the poet.Every one of these poems is a story, carefully pruned, polished and turned up to the light. Thank you, Marc, for putting them all down. You're on my shelf now, with Carver and Hall. Pretty good company.