Surface of the Lit World: Poems

Surface of the Lit World: Poems

by Shane Seely

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In The Surface of the Lit World, Shane Seely draws on a wide range of sources—from personal memory to biblical narrative—to explore the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves, the ways in which we make meaning of our lives. Seely delves into the ways in which family and environment shape us. Poems ranging from terse, meditative lyrics to more direct narratives examine the relationship between what lies visible on the lit surface and what lies just beneath.

In addition to first-person autobiographical narratives, there are ekphrastic poems; poems that explore narratives from mythology and religion; and poems based on news reports, radio stories, and audio recordings. Regardless of the approach, the central questions are the same: How do we sense the world we live in? What do the institutions to which we turn for meaning—family, religion, art, literature, science—offer us, and in what ways do they fail us? The answers may depend on where we dare to look.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780821421482
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Publication date: 04/02/2015
Series: Hollis Summers Poetry Prize Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 88
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Shane Seely is an assistant professor of English at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. He is the author of The Snowbound House, winner of the 2008 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry, and the chapbook History Here Requires Balboa.

Table of Contents


Descent 3

The Fledged Boy 5

Rehearsal for an Execution 7

View-Master 10

Danaë 11

Partial Solar Eclipse 12

Lost Ring 13

Chain Saw at Dusk 15

The Opossum 17

On the Recording of Weldon Kees Reading "Relating to Robinson" 19

These Fine Collapses 20

The Cinder Woman 22

Isaac's Lament 24

Sucker Fish 25

Early Postcard from Paradise 26


After Stanley Kunitz 29

You Fell Forward on Both Knees 31

Noon Bus in a Heat Wave 32

For the Swamp King of Kalispell 35

Sonnet for the Pennsylvania Mountain Lion 36

Dürer's Rhinoceros 37

Laisse for an Insect on an Open Book of Poems 39

Teaching English at the Chrysler Plant 40

Walt Whitman at the Irish Festival, Syracuse, New York: Four Snapshots 42

Stick 44

Orpheus Charming the Animals 45

The Kite Flyers of Forest Park 46

Preschool Race, Seen through a Bus Window 48


Silm: Four Definitions from the Estonian 51

Gathering Wood before Rain 53

A Low Wall 54

Bat in the House 56

The Late Deluge 57

Spider Laisse 59

Anthology 60

Still Life with Mice 61

The Frozen Pond 62

The Stone Garden 63

The Weedy Thicket 65

The Orangutans of the Omaha Zoo 66

The Fox 67

Centralis 68

Forest Cemetery 71

Notes 73

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