Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226570419 Published August 2018
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Spill

Bruce Smith

Spill

Bruce Smith

80 pages | 4 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2018 
Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226570419 Published August 2018
E-book $10.00 to $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226570556 Published August 2018
“There are two schools: one that sings the sheen and hues, the necessary pigments and frankincense while the world dries and the other voice like water that seeks to saturate, erode, and boil . . . It ruins everything you have ever saved.”
            Spill is a book in contradictions, embodying helplessness in the face of our dual citizenship in the realms of trauma and gratitude, artistic aspiration and political reality. The centerpiece of this collection is a lyrical essay that recalls the poet’s time working at the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg in the 1960s. Mentored by the insouciant inmate S, the speaker receives a schooling in race, class, and culture, as well as the beginning of an apprenticeship in poetry. As he and S consult the I Ching, the Book of Changes, the speaker becomes cognizant of other frequencies, other identities; poetry, divination, and a synchronous, alternative reading of life come into focus. On either side of this prose poem are related poems of excess and witness, of the ransacked places and of new territories that emerge from the monstrous. Throughout, these poems inhabit rather than resolve their contradictions, their utterances held in tension “between the hemispheres of songbirds and the hemispheres of men.”
 
Contents
Acknowledgments
Beautiful Throat
Garden
Summer Rain
Raccoon
Goodbye Tuscaloosa
Ballad and Proposition
Gaze
What Are They Doing in the Next Room?
The Whiteness
Marvin Gaye Sings the National Anthem, 1983
“Are You Ready to Smash White Things?”
Lewisburg
Meat
Run
Boilermaker
Bird
Sister
Button
Pollen
Honey
True/False
Ferment
Index
Review Quotes
Publishers Weekly
“Smith dismantles the boundaries among the lyric, travelogue, and philosophy in this hybridized collection. . . . As Smith shifts gracefully among locales, genres, and temporal moments, the text performs and enacts its apt title, questioning the extent to which any individual voice exists apart from a shared cultural imagination. . . . Smith’s volume considers history, violence, and subjectivity with compassion and remarkable insight.”
Rosanna Warren, author of Ghost in a Red Hat
“Bruce Smith makes poetry from not-poetry, art from not-art, in these savage songs where history clashes with ecstasy. From the central prose sequence of prison life in the Vietnam years to chants and curses of our own day, this Song of My Smashed Self mourns, accuses, confesses, and multiplies. Bruce Smith is writing fully political lyric, ‘patterns of the blast.’”
Laura Kasischke, author of Space, In Chains
“This is a book through which we can ride smoothly into a time, a place, its passions and terrors; however, when you glance in the rearview mirror you see that the gravel has been churned up by your traveling at such speed, that you’ve left Earth with this poet, that you are not where you expected to be, but you are where you never doubted you should be going.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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