Paul Lake The Republic of Virtue

ISBN 13: 9780930982737

The Republic of Virtue

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9780930982737: The Republic of Virtue
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The Republic of Virtue by Paul Lake, recipient of the 2013 Richard Wilbur Award, is an exceptionally powerful collection of new poems, unique in their range and exquisite in their craftsmanship. Some of the poems in this collection, with constant and remarkable clarity, boldly dissect some of the crucial, underlying philosophical and political questions of western civilization, often focusing on how language is used to subvert the truth and how radical idealisms can often lead to violence and terror. Yet other poems in this disparate collection are affectingly personal, even tender, dealing with problems that we face in our everyday lives. Whether his mode is narrative, satiric, or lyric, Lake's poems are always uniquely honest, insightful, and provocative.

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About the Author:

PAUL LAKE, after graduating from Towson University, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, where he earned his M.A. He has taught English and creative writing at Santa Clara University and Arkansas Tech. Since 2006, he has been the poetry editor of First Things. His poems and essays have been widely published, and he has previously authored two poetry collections, Another Kind of Travel and Walking Backward, as well as two novels, Among the Immortals and Cry Wolf: A Political Fable.

Review:

Paul Lake s provocative new collection, The Republic of Virtue, addresses the foundational question of both philosophy and poetry--how do we use or misuse language to represent and understand the world? Using the narrative, satiric, and lyrical modes with equal ease, Lake portrays the battles over language and meaning in memorable and sometimes merciless poems. The remarkable title poem, which brilliantly chronicles a moment in the French Revolution, is a particular tour de force and all the more astonishing for being true. --Dana Gioia

Whether his subject is the Tower of Babel or "The Emperor s New Clothes," Paul Lake writes with wit, precision, and sometimes cutting honesty. But this accomplished poet isn t all edges. In a poem about an errant teenager, or an elegy for a fellow poet dead too young, Lake, while still unfailingly crystalline in his clarity, can also wring the reader s heart. A strong and distinctive collection. --Rachel Hadas

When Paul Lake s fine literary craftsmanship, deep human understanding, and common sense are applied to today s social and political topics, we are certain to get a wise and witty book. The antiphrastic title and the title poem, a frightening reminder of the French Revolution and its errors, make clear where he stands on utopian scheme and their inevitable terror. "Charlemagne's Vision," "Epilogue to 'The Emperor's New Clothes,'" "Revised Standard Version," "Echoes," and "Professing Rape" show brilliantly how the Occidental tradition and the idea of truth have been subverted, sabotaged by the suicidal folly of xenophilia, "competing fictions" (or "spin"), and a circular hermeneutics that denies meaning. Not all is Swiftian satire, however; Lake's voice can be tender, moving us by gentle charm and home truths. Poetry of a high order is always insight and illumination; we have it here. --Catharine Savage Brosman

Whether his subject is the Tower of Babel or "The Emperor s New Clothes," Paul Lake writes with wit, precision, and sometimes cutting honesty. But this accomplished poet isn t all edges. In a poem about an errant teenager, or an elegy for a fellow poet dead too young, Lake, while still unfailingly crystalline in his clarity, can also wring the reader s heart. A strong and distinctive collection. --Rachel Hadas

When Paul Lake s fine literary craftsmanship, deep human understanding, and common sense are applied to today s social and political topics, we are certain to get a wise and witty book. The antiphrastic title and the title poem, a frightening reminder of the French Revolution and its errors, make clear where he stands on utopian scheme and their inevitable terror. "Charlemagne s Vision," "Epilogue to 'The Emperor s New Clothes,'" "Revised Standard Version," "Echoes," and "Professing Rape" show brilliantly how the Occidental tradition and the idea of truth have been subverted, sabotaged by the suicidal folly of xenophilia, "competing fictions" (or "spin"), and a circular hermeneutics that denies meaning. Not all is Swiftian satire, however; Lake s voice can be tender, moving us by gentle charm and home truths. Poetry of a high order is always insight and illumination; we have it here. --Catharine Savage Brosman

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