Paul Killebrew Flowers

ISBN 13: 9780982237625

Flowers

4.3 avg rating
( 50 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780982237625: Flowers

“All my poet friends mourned when Paul told us he’d be going into law, so soon after he appeared on the scene as a supernova. ‘No fear. The blue light. My breath washing out in the air.’ Yes. He came out strengthened. Grown in imagination. Bigger in his lucid scanning of America. Rejuvenating. To read him is a delight.”
- Tomaz Salamun

“I thought: ‘this is an anecdotal phenomenology’ and looked up the derivation of anecdote: ‘thing given out.’ These poems keep giving and giving out; anecdotes evaporate and recrudesce in a different form, in new detail. Meaning emerges as each observation defamiliarizes the next and the prior. An epistemology punctured with an affectionate loathing opens out into love. Agonized, startled, startling wit. Truthtelling that fails because it’s truthful. These poems leave me alert to the floating world. Welcome Paul Killebrew, tabula rascal.”
- Catherine Wagner

“[Killebrew] plunges us into a world we inhabit but seldom notice, forcing its horror on us but also reminding us why we go on coping with it, why we’re in it for the long haul, wherever the carpool takes us.”
- John Ashbery

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About the Author:

Paul Killebrew was born and raised in Tennessee. He now lives in Louisiana, where he works as a lawyer at Innocence Project New Orleans. His chapbook Forget Rita (2003) was chosen by John Ashbery for the PSA New York Chapbook Fellowship competition, and another chapbook, Inspector Vs. Envader (2007), was published by Ugly Duckling Presse. He is the author of two full-length collection of poems, FLOWERS (2010) and ETHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS (2013), both from Canarium Books.

Review:

Killebrew strikes many different notes in his long-awaited debut. Amid poems cluttered with offices, "confederated ideas," ambition, and calls from the mayor, he is sometimes cheeky, resigned to "the tremendous gap between the refrigerator/ and the conscientious voter." Love poems like "I Will Learn to Make You Happy" and "I Love Country Music" are intimate and graceful, displaying startling and simple truths, noticed precisely. Killebrew channels Frank O'Hara, and it's tempting to get lost in these moments of ebullience. Elsewhere, John Ashbery is the New York School spirit most palpably felt, not just in the poem titled for him, but also in the long central poem "In Eight Parts," which begins, "I grew up an anxious painting by my dad's shaking hand," and can be read as Killebrew's "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror." There are also more abstract moments: "birdbath interstate flowerbed shoulder restitution fencing." Throughout, Killebrew intelligently and compellingly explores the possibilities and uses of poetry and the experience of living in language how its abstractions seduce, and how concrete moments like thunderstorms "make the whole thing feel justified,/ or at least without unbearable luxury." Though his work worries the "negotiation between expectation/ and an ever-tapering capacity for surprise," Killebrew's collection leaves us plenty of reason to be optimistic. --Publishers Weekly

Besides being entertaining (the thrill, remember), Killebrew's incorporation of new formalism into this body of work suggests the masterful designer within his talent: he knows when and how much to use to get just the right end results. --NewPages

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