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These vivid narrative and lyrical poems focus on scenes and characters from the coal and steel producing regions of Alabama, an unlikely but rich source for meditations on the hidden emotions of our lives. The iron city is a world in which a child and the people around him are trapped in the mystery of their surroundings, trying to reach toward love, understanding, and clarity. Acclaimed poet John Bensko creates powerful images of enclosed spaces, both physical and emotional, and of the surprising radiance they evoke. Through the central metaphor of a raw material that contains both its history ("Memory of delicate/Ferns, leaves, bones of fishes") and its future ("Coal, the rock that burns"), "The Iron City" explores the chasm between child and adult, musing over veins depleted, resources misused, and the glint of promise deep underground.
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"Bensko's vivid collection evokes a childhood and youth in the working-class culture of miners, house trailers, and iron-fenced cemeteries. Bensko's forte is subtle and memorable detail, clearly steeped in a life lived hard and true." -- North American Review "These poems are firmly tied to a sense of place and, in the poems about Bensko's childhood in Birmingham, of time filtered through the shades of memory. Time flows only onward, of course, carrying us away from the seedbed of memory." -- Frederic Koeppel, The Commercial Appeal Praise for John Bensko's earlier work: "Bensko writes with a keen eye for quintessential detail." -- Publishers Weekly "Bensko recreates an incident, a moment of feeling, with absolute fidelity." -- Louis Simpson "What lovely subtleties there are in these pages, what wry and melancholy voices!" -- Leon Stokesbury "A marvelous interior voyage through real landscapes." -- Maura Stanton "Bensko's stories are authentic, weighted, and worthy of all we can give them of ourselves." -- Dave Smith
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Book Description University of Illinois Press, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0252068718