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City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“‘When a nation goes down or a society perishes, one condition can always be found—they forgot where they came from,’ cautioned Chicago icon Carl Sandburg, whose acute historical consciousness pervades this timely anthology. From the stockyard to the speakeasy, the steakhouse to the flophouse, the top of the Hancock tower to the thirteenth floor of an east-side tenement, what this eclectic gathering of poets shares is a commitment to honoring Chicago’s roots. Infused with a passion beyond the reach of prose, here is an ‘intimate ethnography’—part torch song, part folk song, part ballad, part dirge—of a city both ‘on the make’ and ‘on the take.’”—Suzanne Buffam, author, The Irrationalist


“A city like Chicago deserves an anthology of this scope: bursting with the life lived on the streets in the Loop and alive with childhood memories as seen from the city’s neighborhood windows. Ryan Van Cleave has collected a prodigious swath of poems from writers commemorating their Chicago, a city as big in our imaginations as it is from the view at Promontory Point Park.”—Joshua Marie Wilkinson, author, Selenography


About the Author

Ryan G. Van Cleave is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of nineteen books including poetry, young adult fiction, and nonfiction. With Virgil Suárez, he is the editor of the poetry anthologies Red, White, and Blues: Poets on the Promise of America (Iowa, 2004), Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality (Iowa, 2003), Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America (Iowa, 2002), and American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement (Iowa, 2001).


Product Details

  • Paperback: 206 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609380908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609380908
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ryan detests long walks on the beach.
He enjoys napping with a small dog dozing in the crook of his arm.
And he squeezes toothpaste from the top of the tube. Always.

**For those who prefer the more nuts and bolts info**
He's the author or co-author of 20 books.
He's got a Ph.D. from one of those big Southern schools.
He also teaches writing to a bunch of super-talented young artists at The Ringling College of Art and Design.
And he's a frequent speaker at schools, businesses, and community centers on issues of the digital age, publishing/writing, and creativity.

For more on Ryan's idiosyncrasies or to just contact the author for any reason, use the CONTACT form at

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By chicagopoetry on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I've been anticipating the release of City Of The Big Shoulders (An Anthology of Chicago Poetry) for some time, so I was thrilled to come home after raiding the last two hours of the AWP Conference's bookfair to find that the University of Iowa Press was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy. The next day I sat down and eagerly read the 151 pages of poetry written by 99 different poets and I must say, I'm not in the least bit disappointed. In fact, I really love this anthology.

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