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In a country where much of the prominent poetry seeks to affirm the fleeting present and its changing values, John Peck’s poetry comes as an important, if unlikely, gift. Peck’s verse deals the cards of the fragmentary, ideogramic, juxtapositional, and elliptical through the deck of normally discursive syntax. Echoing late high Modernism, Peck’s work, in the words of novelist Joseph McElroy, is “a way of seeing things,” confident “in the packed vividness of the referential.” Avoiding the narrow identity- or group-specific viewpoint of some of his contemporaries, Peck invites us to enter the larger humanscape and unearth with him unnoticed connections to our shared past and to one another. In Contradance, his ninth collection, Peck’s passion for inquiry and historical reflection has never been stronger or more beautifully embodied. 

88 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Phoenix Poets



“[I]t is the extraordinary fineness of intelligence and heart at work in these poems, their music, and their sensuous and exact images, their scrupulous conscience, that can win for their readers what is so difficult, a vision of art and life bound together by both justice and love.”

Joseph Donahue | Notre Dame Review

“This is a deeply intellectual, deeply profound poetry.”

Joey Connolly | PN Review

Table of Contents

Dawn Renga
Canticle of the Winepress
Flowers and Birds of the FourSeasons . . .
Society of Friends
Giovanni, would you . . .
To the One Who Stole My Box of Tools
Club W.
Avedon in his last days . . .
New York Sonnets
     The Battle of Anghiari
     To Melville with Pry-Bar
     Green, Yellow, Red
     I Hear You Calling
     Philosophia, East 65th Street
     A Bridge Beneath
     Inwood Hill
     The Project
     Children’s Zoo
     The Web in Central Park
     Anfiteatro Flaviano
     The Chrysler Building, Met Life, Trump Tower
     Liber Studiorum
Hammonassett, Connecticut
A Veteran
Book of Serenity
Papyrus Fragment Egerton 2
From the Factory in Wolfsburg
Four Rivers and the Pennsy Yards
Out of strife, peace: . . .
Venice’s last . . .
Across and through— . . .
R. M. R.
Book of the Dead? We Have No Book of the Dead


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