The Contracted World includes representative poems from four of Peter Meinke's previous collections. In poems that show us what it is like to grow up in America, love, nature, cities, sports, war, and peace are filtered through the imagination and verbal skills of one of our brightest poets.
The new poems experiment with form, and address a life that is shrinking in specific ways: the poet is aging, the world is getting smaller, our post-9/11 freedoms are eroding, and our choices seem fewer and less attractive. Despite feelings of anger and loneliness, the narrator speaks to us in a personal, accessible, and often humorous voice.
Table of ContentsI. Left-Winged Sonnets Brief Meditations on a Woodcut by Leonard Baskin /3 The Graybeards /5 Marine Forecast /6 The Purity ofAbsolute Perfection /7 The Death of Friends /8 Turkish Coffee /9 Elderly, She Paints Another Nude /o1 The Director / 1 91st Birthday /12 Mystery /13 Caterpillar Plague, 2000 /14 The Skiers /15 Treasure Island /i6 Maples and Orange Trees, 2003 /17 Rocking Horse Winner /18 Butterfly Cage /19 The Triumph of Desert Storm /20 II. The Chemical Chain The Contracted World /23 P-town, '04 /25 What Wild-Eyed Murderer /26 The DesertedVillage, 2002 /27 Inheritance /29 The Spindled World /30 The True UFO Story /31 The Simplest Animals /33 The Chemical Chain /34 The Little Factory, 1863 /35 M. Hoffstetler's Last Class /36 Blackberry Jam /37 AmericanYouth /38 Lilacs /39 On Teaching Our Son to Tell Time /40 The Wedding: February 26, 2000 /42 The Timaya Tree /43 Epithalamion for Two Scientists /44 The Bookshelf /45 Song from the Wrong Bay /46 III. from The Night Train & the Golden Bird The Night Train /53 The Patient /54 Morocco /55 The Great Wall /56 Gramma /57 Bones in an African Cave /58 Neuchitel Swans /59 Cheerios /60 Vegetables /6i Poem to Old Friends Who Have Never Met /62 Sunday at the Apple Market /63 The Anchor /64 Angels Drink /65 J Randall Randle /66 The Golden Bird /67 IV. from The Rat Poems /69 V. from Trying to Surprise God Trout /77 Letter from Warsaw, 1979 /81 Happy Hour /84 A Necessary Bucket /85 Preacher, Said the General /87 The Hunters: Southeast Africa /89 Greta Garbo Poem #41 /91 To an Athlete Turned Poet /92 Threnody /93 Miss Arbuckle /94 Recipe /95 The Artist /96 VI. from Night Watch on the Chesapeake On the Bus in D.C., 1980 /99 The Pin /ioi Lordship Lane Station /o02 Weeds /I03 The Sheep /1o4 A Dream of Third Base /Io5 Sonfets for a Diabetic /107 Fraxinus Nigra /o09 Birchbark /Ino The Last Mountain Lion on Maple Crest Mountain /I Lines for the Reviewer /112 Caitlin Rampant on a Field in Tuscany /113 One Hundred Robins /114 The Shells of Bermuda /II5