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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

Fleeing Actium

An intricate collection of poems that represent the major themes of Pau-Llosa’s career.

Fleeing Actium is Ricardo Pau-Llosa’s ninth book of poetry, and it presents an expansive collection that showcases the culmination of major themes in the poet’s work. Now 68 and splitting his time between Miami and Key Largo, Pau-Llosa’s lifelong passion for the visual arts—as a collector, curator, and critic—has fueled his interest in ekphrastic poetry. The opening section of the collection gathers Pau-Llosa’s best poems in this genre, followed by a section devoted to Japan’s legendary Edo-period prints and paintings. The third section engages with belief systems across cultures and eras and the personae which embody them, often in dialogue with each other. A fourth and final section focuses on Pau-Llosa’s equally venerable interest in Husserlian Phenomenology and the vivid apprehension of everyday objects.

Spending much of his time in Key Largo, Pau-Llosa has been inspired to create poems that juxtapose ancient and contemporary scenes of everyday life, another avenue of Pau-Llosa’s enduring explorations of philosophical concepts in his poetry. The many complex references and themes in Fleeing Actium converge in a lucid, vital chorus of Ideas about history, memory, inspiration, and the roles which only art and poetry can play in the reflective life.

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"His most ambitious book to date, Fleeing Actium is Pau-Llosa’s summa, the volume that his earlier work has been preparing us for. It gathers and showcases all of the generative modules of his poetry: the ekphrastic, the philosophical, the other-cultural, the musical, the mundane. As well, it reflects Pau-Llosa’s continuing exploration of the sonnet form, whose flexibility and expressive reach make for some of the finest moments in the book. Rich, various and challenging, Fleeing Actium further secures Pau-Llosa’s position as one of the strongest voices in contemporary American poetry."

Gustavo Pérez Firmat

"Delighting us with formal dexterity and acuity and with subjects as varied as Husserlian meditations on pragmatic and banal, seemingly superfluous technologies, ekphrasis, back-and-forth monologues between Greek characters and biblical characters, and lost sermons of the Buddha, Ricardo Pau-Llosa shows us a full range of explorations into human experience through, like Husserl, phenomenological, epistemological and ontological lenses. Pau-Llosa is one of the finest poets and thinkers of our age at the height of his talents in Fleeing Actium."

Adam Vines, editor of Birmingham Poetry Review and author of Lures

"Spinning magical imagery, erudition and blessed accessibility, Ricardo Pau-Llosa’s magnum opus, Fleeing Actium, cements the artist’s reputation as a poet’s poet. Painterly and potent, the collection demonstrates a mastery of lines, meticulous research and seamless control so very, very rarely seen. The poet as Caravaggio, soaring the heights and depths of lighting, the shadows and the dark. Fleeing Actium is verse at its most thoughtful and entertaining. We published Mr. Pau-Llosa more times than any other poet, dead-or-alive. Here he shows why."

Robert Nazarene, founding editor, The American Journal of Poetry

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