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Everything Paid For (Contemporary Poetry Series)

Robley Wilson

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ISBN 10: 0813017157 / ISBN 13: 9780813017150
Published by University Press of Florida, 1999
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Everything Paid For (Contemporary Poetry ...

Publisher: University Press of Florida

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


From reviews of Kingdoms of the Ordinary, also by Robley Wilson:

"These poems are alive with thought, they examine things from various angles, like someone walking around a sculpture. . . . We all may live ordinary lives, but with the courage to face them that we find in these poems, the world may become our kingdom yet."--New York Times Book Review

"With all the innocence of childhood yet an adult’s knowledge, these poems strike a delicate balance. . . . Highly recommended."--Library Journal

Robley Wilson’s third book of poems is written in a delightful variety of forms--syllabics, couplets, nonce sonnets, internal rhymes, and a marvelously supple blank verse. His concerns are the age-old concerns of being human: the difficulty of loving and communicating, the maddening challenges of living a "normal" life in suburbia, the ripple effect of our every act on others.

 But there is nothing dour in his approach. His tone is often wry and witty, always thoughtful. He digs deep and comes up with poems written from totally unexpected perspectives--the Kent State massacre from the point of view of one of the now-aging National Guardsmen; World War II from the point of view of a German girl chosen to present flowers to General Himmler; or a man living (literally) on the moon.

Wilson has published four books of stories, and his gift as a storyteller is apparent in these poems. He sets the scene, gives us the facts--of a life, a mood, a moment--and we are drawn into the world of each separate poem. "Judge not . . ." is implicit, and we see ourselves in these poems and learn about ourselves as we read.

Robley Wilson, editor of the North American Review, is professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He has published two previous books of poetry, Kingdoms of the Ordinary (1987) and A Pleasure Tree (1991).

From Publishers Weekly:

"I am scarcely old, but I think/ old," Wilson's speaker decides in "Purgatorio": Wilson's restrained and accomplished third book of poems presents the virtues and flaws of work decades older than his. In sonnets, careful trimeters, restrained dramatic monologues, and meditations on history, domesticity and war, Wilson resurrects the quietly gifted formal poets of the 1940s and '50s. (He seems especially close to William Meredith.) Deceptively almost-ordinary phrases, resolute in their compression and tact, do for Wilson (Kingdoms of the Ordinary) what would take most other poets several sentences: on a snowy suburban morning, "... the children/ scuttle like turned leaves"; a beach crab "shines, and the moon/ picks him for her bauble." The animals in "A Minor Bestiary" understand human emotions better than most people: "If you have quarreled with the woman/ you love, the crows indict you./ Call her, they chorus, confess... who have never cried down/ a soft apology in their lives." Monologues in well-handled short lines present the grown daughter of a Nazi officer, a National Guardsman who fired at Kent State, a future American soldier on the Moon, all with convincing deliberateness and psychological acuity. Like his mid-century precedents, Wilson can stray into ponderous phrasemaking: we hear of "all the body's ends," "the muttering of her mortality," "the subtleties of God's simpler work," even of men "risking themselves to learn/ what beauty tells." (Wilson's treatment of straight male desire can get bathetic, but it can also display hard-won self-knowledge.) Wilson is at his most concise and most eloquent when trying least to be so. His poems will startle, or dazzle, almost no one; readers will instead and with reason call them well-made, weighty, subtle and sometimes wise.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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