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The Displaced of Capital

Winner of the 2005 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
The long-awaited follow-up to The Key to the City—a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986—Anne Winters’s The Displaced of Capital emanates a quiet and authoritative passion for social justice, embodying the voice of a subtle, sophisticated conscience.

The "displaced" in the book’s title refers to the poor, the homeless, and the disenfranchised who populate New York, the city that serves at once as gritty backdrop, city of dreams, and urban nightmare. Winters also addresses the culturally, ethnically, and emotionally excluded and, in these politically sensitive poems, writes without sentimentality of a cityscape of tenements and immigrants, offering her poetry as a testament to the lives of have-nots. In the central poem, Winters witnesses the relationship between two women of disparate social classes whose friendship represents the poet’s political convictions. With poems both powerful and musical, The Displaced of Capital marks Anne Winters’s triumphant return and assures her standing as an essential New York poet.

Read an excerpt.

72 pages | 6 1/8 x 8 1/2 | © 2004

Phoenix Poets



"The best thing about Ms. Winters’ poetry is her tough, nervous language, dense with consonants, and well suited to her grimy vision of New York"

Adam Kirsch | New York Sun

"Anne Winters is one of the scarcest talents in American poetry."

Dan Chiasson | Slate

"Compassionate, careful, and detailed almost to a fault, this admirable second volume from Winters (her first in 18 years) follows the workers, the students, and the architecture of New York City...Winters’s blend of ethical with formal concerns should recommend her to fans of Marilyn Hacker or of Robert Pinsky; her documentary methods, and her knowledge of New York City’s hidden spaces, might give her rigorous poetry further appeal."

Publishers Weekly

"A nature poet unleashed in New York, Marxian, Wordsworthian, enraged with the status quo."

Editor's Choice | New York Times Book Review

"A revelation, a daring exploration of New York that is at once high-flown, enraged, philosophical and subtle, Marxist and Wordsworthian, deeply domestic and focused with a spectacular riskiness on the economic engines of inequity."

Emily Nussbaum | New York Times Book Review

"The peoms in The Displaced of Capital give voice to the stories tied to place, the stories only walls know."

Maureen Picard Robins | Rain Taxi

"[Winter’s] work goes everywhere and sees everything with a great perambulatory gothic greed for detail that would be called Dickensian if it were found in a novel."

Brian Phillips | Poetry

"Almost twenty years after the publication of her first book of poems, The Key to the City, Anne Winters’s second collection, The Displaced of Capital, continues her commitment to a poetry that is as artistically rigorous as it is politically progressive. . . . The striking music of these severe yet appealingly plangent lines, the concentration on bringing the experience emotionally into focus, and the naturalness with which the metaphor. . .arises, indicate a formal excellence and imaginative richness that place Winters’ work at the forefront of today’s poetry."

Paul Otremba | Tikkun

"A polymath’s symphony of praise and revulsion, for a specific city and for civilization itself. The book is about the partly visible, largely unknown conduits and systems that connect things: poverty and opera, the aisles of Home Depot and the oak owl that witnessed the roundup of Jews in the Cathedral of Ulm, the currency exchange and the tenement, geology and engineering, injustice and the transit system....Vivid and reflective, documentary and visionary, re-imagining the city of New York with the same urgency that ponders the Hebrew of Genesis, this is a passionate, artful and re-readable book. It is also a strikingly contemporary book. For all its reaching back--into prehistoric geology, into Sumerian, or on a personal level into the time of actual cold-water flats in Greenwich Village--the book is also fascinated by the drive-in teller, the pre-teen drug scout, the construction tremors that weaken buildings on the Brooklyn littoral....With its extraordinary speed, scope and audacity, Anne Winters’s poetry both expresses our time and resists it."

Robert Pinsky | The Nation

"In her first book since the 1986 collection The Key to the City, Anne Winters again turns her attention to New York City and its ’displaced’—its immigrants and exhausted workers in precarious, hand-to-mouth circumstances. Writing in a sharp, ornate style, Winters arranges the city’s incidental beauties and brutalities with an eye to human suffering. Mannequins posing in Fifth Avenue shop windows, ten-year-old drug scouts, tenements hard by posh apartment towers—the New York of these poems determinedly mixes its elements of high and low."

Poetry Foundation

"An amazing, comprehensive, yet delicate and precisely drawn canvas.This is a serious, complex and gratifying work."

Rebecca Kaiser Gibson | Pleiades

"[Winters] does what all great poets ought to do: makes rational, trustworthy, moral statements that teach us what to see and how we ought to see it."

Richard Joines | Southern Humanities Review

Table of Contents


I. The Mill-Race
The Mill-Race
The Grass Grower
The Displaced of Capital
An Immigrant Woman
Cold-Water Flats
II. The First Verse
The Depot
A Sonnet Map of Manhattan
Wall and Pine: The Rain
Houston Street: A Wino
East Fifth Street: A Poster for the Oresteia
Greenwich Street: Sad Father with a Hat
MacDougal Street: Old-Law Tenements
East Eleventh Street: Three Images
Eighteenth Street: The Brown Owl of Ulm
First Avenue: Drive-In Teller
Sixty-seventh Street: Tosca with Man in Bedrock
100 Riverside: Waking Up at Mari’s
One-forty-sixth Street: My Stepmother’s Chloral
One-sixty-fifth Street: The Currency Exchange
One-sixty-eighth Street: The Armory
One-seventy-fifth Street: The Scout
The First Verse


Academy of American Poets: Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

Poetry Society of America: William Carlos Williams Award

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