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December 14 , 2007

Odd Mercy: Poems


"For over two decades, no one has equaled Stern's compassionate, surreal parables about the burden of and the exaltation at being alive."—Library Journal

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The centerpiece of Gerald Stern's ninth collection is a long poem titled "Hot Dog," named for a beautiful street woman who lives in and around Tompkins Square Park. Other characters in this poem are St. Augustine, Walt Whitman, Noah, Gerald Stern himself, and a ninety-year-old black preacher from the Midwest. In "Hot Dog," and throughout, Stern wrestles with the issues—hope, memory, faith—that have always occupied him.

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