In addition to narrating the fine novel you're now holding, Denver Hoptner (Jeff Vande Zande's particularized composite of hundreds of thousands of young writers adrift in America today) does something, something of consequence, and does it without thinking (just as real poetry can't be simply thought into being). A friend of his tells him, "You made the symbol real." By way of Vande Zande's passion, American Poet reaches through the ramifying shadow of Theodore Roethke to the hoped-for communal force of poetry itself. Denver's story has hurt me into feeling uncomfortably young and vulnerable again, but this time that young self of mine has been understood. -William Heyen
"This coming-of-age tale centers on a young poet, who is ill-prepared for and frustrated by the hometown he returns to, where he fights with his father and with himself. Set against the backdrop of a broken city and a failed relationship, the novel champions poetry and the underdog--whether it be our seemingly--incompetent narrator, a baseball team, or a failing non-profit. With American Poet, Jeff Vande Zande has written a love poem for the city of Saginaw, and, by extension, a love poem for Flint, Gary, Cleveland, or any forgotten city in the Rust Belt." -Gina Myers
Set in Saginaw, Michigan, home of poet Theodore Roethke, we follow a young man's journey as he seeks to find himself and finds as well poetry, family, and America.