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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

Joy Ride

Poems that navigate the intersection of history and memory, family lore, and world events.
The poems of Joy Ride look for the connections and listen for the echoes between world events, family lore, work, mortality, and art. Ron Slate examines the intangibility of the past by exploring the notion of storytelling itself—the stories we tell ourselves, our families, and our communities about the events that have shaped our experience.

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"Ron Slate’s Joy Ride moves with the movement of the mind. History and memory twine with the present, as spectral and intangible as the past. Loss and grief are not treated as spectacle, but they imbue every line. I love the way I feel when I read Joyce’s and Chekhov’s stories. These poems put me in a similar state—a kind of fugue, a surreal strangeness, but with a grounded adherence to the ordinary. Whatever this feeling is, there’s no word for it. It’s what I seek when I read and write poems, but to find it is rare. Joy Ride is the dream that the passage of time wakes in us."

Diane Seuss

"In Ron Slate’s long-awaited new book of poems, family stories intersect with public events. What interests me especially is the way that the stories in Joy Ride nest in meditations on the nature of storytelling itself. 'If a story satisfies, it has the power to hinder, and if it hinders then it has the power to satisfy,' Slate writes in a prose poem recounting his family’s flight from Paris during the Occupation. This strikes me as an original and fascinating way to complicate and refresh narrative in poetry beyond anecdote. But most of all, to read Ron Slate is to experience vivid clarity."

Daisy Fried

"Startling encounters with family and strangers at home and abroad, moments of wonder and sobering clarity—Ron Slate shapes experience into sophisticated poems that show the world in its raw and achingly beautiful forms. His words are astute and acutely observant."

Rigoberto González

"Slate’s book invites us—and makes it possible—to enter our pasts, our griefs, and the leftover love that urges us forward while tethering us to our failing, never-forgotten selves. A masterclass in craft, Slate’s poems locate the nuance inside every emotion in ways that startle, in ways that make 'you risk losing your hold / on the world.'"

Aaron Smith

"Late in this arresting collection, Ron Slate attests that 'The world appears binary but it’s a choppy flight / from pole to pole, the imagination so capable / it feeds off stale air and salty snacks.' However true of others’ imaginations, the claim is everywhere pertinent to Ron Slate’s. Often from workaday material to exotica, the poet invigorates his every recall. As he says elsewhere, 'A memory is a fever of phrases,' and in Joy Ride those phrases carry a richness rarely to be seen among our contemporaries."

Sydney Lea

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