Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest: Poems

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9780393325669: Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest: Poems
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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

B. H. Fairchild's memory systems are the collective vision of America's despairing dreamers―failed baseball players, oil field laborers, a surrealist priest, college boys at a burlesque theater, the last remaining cast members of The Wizard of Oz. Looming over all is the fact and the mystery of our continued renewal.

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About the Author:

B. H. Fairchild, the author of several acclaimed poetry collections and a recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, has been a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Bobbitt National Prize. He teaches in the creative writing PhD program at the University of North Texas.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* The epigraph to Fairchild's book of poems of memory is by the greatest American prose poet, James Agee, for whom memory was the very stuff of life. The passage is from "Knoxville: Summer of 1915," which Samuel Barber set for soprano and orchestra and which Agee later used to open his novel A Death in the Family. To his immense credit, Fairchild lives up to the exquisite, delicious, nocturnal texture of Barber's music and Agee's language in the narrative and reflective contents of this strong, compelling collection. In lusciously long story poems, especially the 28-page, autobiographical "The Blue Buick," he infers, much like Augustine (see Garry Wills' Saint Augustine's Memory [BKL O 15 02]), that we create and re-create ourselves out of our own and others' memories. "Rave On," another autobiographical narrative that attests to the long-term re-formation of one of his teen cronies, who egged the others into flipping a car for the thrill of it--just about the biggest thrill to be had in that part of 1950s Kansas just above the Oklahoma Panhandle, known as No Man's Land--makes the same point, no less movingly. If strong emotion courses through Fairchild's work, it never makes it lachrymose, thanks to concrete vocabulary and images, direct syntax, and propulsive rhythms. Poetry book of the year? Ray Olson
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