War Bird

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 15, 2009 - Poetry - 88 pages
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From Three at 4:43

And here comes my friend, limping on

his heavy boot, the heel come off. A cobbler's shop

appears, and I buy the black nails, the dwarf's hammer, glue and strapping.

I work hard on it, bending there

until he speaks and walks on.

But as he is dead, his voice and step

make no sound.

In his third book of poems, David Gewanter takes on wartime America, showing our personal costs and inextricable complicities. The constructs of our social lives, the conventions of our political values, the ambitions of our private fantasies—all these collide comically and tragically. Here, the far right marries the far left, and the sacred is undone by the profane. Gewanter's ironic vision pulls together details from science, history, philosophy, the disappearing dailies, and the emotional life of an engaged and singular mind into poems on the move with tense rhythms, rich correspondences, and daring hairpin turns. War Bird gives the lie to the shining moral complacencies of the homefront. Unsettling yet radiant, this collection is a book for troubled times, for what Whitman called, in “1861,” our “hurrying, crashing, sad, distracted year.”


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About the author (2009)

David Gewanter is professor of English at Georgetown University. He is the author of The Sleep of Reason and In the Belly, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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