January 26 , 2009



Selected by Afaa Weaver as the third annual winner of the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, Signals is the first book-length collection from Ed Madden. Deeply rooted in the recognizable landscapes and legacies of the American South, these lyric poems couple daring engagements in topics of race and sexuality with tender reflections on personal and cultural histories. Madden's adopted home of South Carolina rises to the surface in poems set at Folly Beach, Fort Moultrie, Lake Keowee, and Middleton Place. His interrogations of social oppression conjure the ubiquitous iconography of the bygone Confederacy, a first encounter with the miniseries Roots, and a cameo appearance by Strom Thurmond. In the collection's central section, Madden turns to issues of sexual difference, community formation, and the place of gay men in contemporary Southern culture. Throughout Madden repeatedly turns to the artifacts that demarcate his memories of youth in the rural South to ask how we define home, how we form meaning out of the silences and losses of the past, and what rituals and relationships might sustain us as we inch forward across a rough terrain of shifting emotional and moral challenges.

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