The Determined Days: Poems (Sewanee Writers' Series)

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9781585670147: The Determined Days: Poems (Sewanee Writers' Series)
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This debut collection of poems spans the country presenting depressing landscapes and a memorable cast of characters, including an exgravedigger who believes in gouls and a pornobsessed hotel desk clerk.

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About the Author:

Philip Stephens is the author of the poetry collection The Determined Days, which was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Literary Award. His work as appeared in The Oxford American, Southwest Review, and Bomb, among other publications, as well as in Da Capo Best Music Writing 2004. He lives with his wife and sons in Kansas City, Missouri.

From Booklist:

Frost is apparently Stephens' master, for here are dialogues, narratives, and first-person reports, not necessarily of Stephens' own experiences, in shapely, conversational blank verse or, in the book's first and last poems, in iambic pentameter couplets with minimal imperfect rhyming. The subjects are Frostlike, and Wordsworthlike, too: events in the lives of people who work, get drunk, go a little crazy (with good reason), have odd encounters, and try to be friendly. Stephens' people are, however, less of Frost's world than of Philip Levine's: men doing dirty labor, social work, old-fashioned newsroom duty, and white-collar grunt jobs. Stephens has a realist fiction writer's flair for scene, speech, and character, and the incidents in his poems are as all-too-humanly true as those in a good John O'Hara short story. In poems like "Human Resources," in which the recently divorced narrator is egged into "hitting on" a woman in a bar, Stephens honors all his possible influences. He repeats the feat in virtually every poem in an excellent first collection. Ray Olson

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