What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009

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9780393067750: What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009
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Brilliant new poems and an expansive gathering from six collections by a Pulitzer Prize winner celebrated as "indispensable."

"Good poems are triumphs over the unlikely," Stephen Dunn says. "They make us pay attention in new ways." In his second new and selected collection, Dunn subtly enlarges our sense of possibility. His new poems, suffused with affection and rue for our world, occasionally address the metaphysical, as in these lines―

from “Talk to God”Ease into your misgivingsAsk him if in his weaknesshe was ever responsiblefor a pettiness―some weather, say,brought in to show who’s bosswhen no one seemed sufficiently movedby a sunset or the shape of an egg.Ask him if when he gave us desirehe had underestimated its power.

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About the Author:

Stephen Dunn is the author of eighteen poetry collections. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Different Hours and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the recipient of an Academy Award for Literature. A Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Richard Stockton University, he lives in Frostburg, Maryland.

From Publishers Weekly:

Pulitzer-winner Dunn has, since the 1970s, offered pellucid free verse with a great deal of thought cast into deliberately plain diction, about the ups and downs, the epiphanies and the wisdom, of middle-class domestic life. This 16th book of poems and second Selected will certainly give loyal readers what they seek: prose poems and free-verse stanzas about small pleasures, houses and roads, disappointments, and sex, or the lack of it. One night they both needed different things/ of a similar sort: she, solace, he to be consoled, one subtle if typical poem begins; another finds Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, almost ready to praise this awful world. In his recent poems (including 20 new ones) faithful readers will also find surprises, none harsher or more startling than the poems from The Insistence of Beauty (2004) about late-life divorce. Dunn also takes into his usually calm sensibility the public events of recent years—9/11, the war in Iraq; these politicized calamities give him unsettling backdrops for his pathos, and his ongoing search for consolation: how sad it is, he imagines telling God, that awe has been replaced/ by small enthusiasms, that youre aware/ things just arent the same these days. (Jan.)
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Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010
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