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May 30 , 2009

Seven Notebooks


An ant to the stars
or stars to the ant—which is
more irrelevant?

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Look/Don't Look

Look/Don't Look features poetry of the eerie and the eldritch, ranging from the creepy to the comic to the thoughtful. Read fables from Innsmouth, ponder the afterlife of clothing, hunt ghosts with Keats and Shelley, and chill your heart (or warm it, if you're twisted enough) with a serial killer's verse to his latest victim.

Weekend Jet Skiers—
rude to call them idiots,
yes, but facts are facts.

Clamor of seabirds
as the sun falls—I look up
and ten years have passed."
—from "Dawn Notebook"

Such is the expansive terrain of Seven Notebooks: the world as it is seen, known, imagined, and dreamed; our lives as they are felt, thought, desired, and lived. Written in forms that range from haiku to prose, and in a voice that veers from incanta­tory to deadpan, these seven poetic sequences offer diverse reflections on language and poetry, time and consciousness, civilization and art—to say nothing of bureaucrats, surfboards, and blue margaritas. Taken collectively, Seven Notebooks composes a season-by-season account of a year in the life of its narrator, from spring in Chicago to summer at the Jersey Shore to winter in Miami Beach. Not a novel in verse, not a poetic journal, but a lyric chronicle, this utterly unique book reclaims territory long abandoned by American poetry, a characteristic ambition of Campbell McGrath, one of the most honored, accessible, and humanistically engaged writers of our time.

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