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The Lookout Man

Vivid poems full of drama and action by award-winning poet Stuart Dischell.
 
Sometimes elegiac, sometimes deadly comic, and always transformative, The Lookout Man embodies the energy, spirit, and craft that we have come to depend upon in Stuart Dischell’s poetry. Inhabiting a mix of lyric structures, these poems are set in diverse locales from the middle of the ocean to the summit of Mont Blanc, from the backyards of America to the streets of international cities. There is a hesitant, almost encroaching wisdom in The Lookout Man, as Dischell allows his edgy vision and singular perspectives to co-exist with the music of his poems. In lines that close the book and typify Dischell’s work, he writes, “I will ask the dogwoods to remind me // What it means to live along the edges of the woods, / To be promiscuous but bear white flowers.”
 

80 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2022

Phoenix Poets

Poetry

Reviews

“Dischell offers lines as odes to the world in which we live and of the world we too quickly forget. Within these poems there’s a haunting nostalgia wrestled into the present moment; yet, the deeper we delve, the past appears as clearly as a ‘lake at dawn / When the wind is still.’ These poems not only hold wisdom but they also hold ‘lives once so real and fragrant’ that all one can do is pour a glass of wine and read on with an open heart.”

A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineaste

“A sumptuous melancholy suffuses the poems in Dischell’s outstanding collection. Like the wind itself, Dischell voyages ‘across the wide seas . . .’ bringing us the great and small of human existence—cities, politics, battleships, baked apples, polka-dot sheets, and above all, our human selves, vulnerable to loss and the ravages of time.”

Ellen Bass, author of Indigo

“Dischell is the American heir to the European poets, Szymborska, Tranströmer, and Salamun with his wit, loving skepticism, and ever-present sense of the tragic. With poems that evoke Dischell’s Litvak heritage, and the unforgiving American experience of assimilation, in The Lookout Man, Dischell reminds us of the essential gift of dedicated endurance. This tender, very human book is haunted by time, and attentive to the fragile, fleeting things of the world and the heart. And yet, while Dischell chronicles this heartbreak of the daily, like Zagajewski, in the end he keeps casting ‘lines that believe in the future’ and it is the unexpected gold of life that shines through.”

Ellen Hinsey, author of The Illegal Age

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

ONE
Lines of the Prodigal
The Foreigner
Inside the Statue
Coda (Broken, He Saw Himself at Last)
Lines about Ships at Sea
Lines about Mountains
Lines about Rivers, Then the Sea
Lines about the Snow
Lines about the Wind
Lines above the Tree Line
Lines of Evolutionary Progress
Lines at the End of the Year

TWO
The Work Zone
Taint
Lines in the Outage
The Arcade, 1962
White Horse Pike
Action in the Pacific
Lines about Emptiness
Time Was the Rider
Lines of the Elderly Orphan
Lines along the Shore
The Last Days on Ocean Lane
Meeting My Parents for a Weekend in New York, 1988
Lines on the Invention of Shoes
Lines in the Backyard
Lines about Her
For Hubert Desmarest
For Oksana Shachko

THREE
The Streets of the Capital
Lines on a Train to the Alps
Cities of the Blue Coast
In a Corner of the Sky
Lines in Regard to a Morning Swim
The Measurement of Words
Lines of the Mirage
After the Exhibition
The Enchanted Bells
Stormy Tuesdays
Window Peeping into the Garden of Eden
Lines along a Wild Place

Notes, Elegiac

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