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Death-Defying Acts Paperback – April 19, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 97 pages
  • Publisher: WordFarm; First edition (April 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602260052
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602260054
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 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: #2,020,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Gumption pervades Erin Keane's fab new collection, Death-Defying Acts, the whirligig world of circus folks lit up by the poet's verve. But fabrefaction alone is never enough: Keane helps us see the aerialist's ambition as our own, how 'So many ways to fly' characterizes the carnie and the midway we call our daily lives. And here, we thought we weren't freaks. --Alan Michael Parker, author of Elephants & Butterflies

What does the tattoed lady fear? 'Some day I'll run out of skin.' What does the reader of Death-Defying Acts fear? 'Soon, I'll run out of poems in this wonderful book to read.' Even coulrophobes and circus haters (that's almost everybody in the twenty-first century, right?) are going to be drawn into these weird, precise, grimly funny monologues by clowns, freaks, the aerialist, the lady lion tamer, and her lion (yes, the lion gets some of the best lines in the book). Erin Keane's characters are living on the existential edge, as we all are, but they know it and we don't, usually, except at 4 a.m. on the way back from the bathroom. If you always wanted to run away to join the circus, avoid this book. If you always wanted to live near the scary edge, peering over into the abyss, read this book. You'll wish it were longer. --Richard Cecil, author of Twenty First Century Blues

Erin Keane's circus is filled with beautiful losers. The tattooed lady, clown, lion tamer, aerialist, Zorada the fortuneteller, and even the lion speak eloquently of life on the outside but inside the heart of a weird art. Who among us has not felt the beast's breath on our necks or seen our bodies covered with stories. These pages tell us what we felt and how we still feel in the dark before sleep. --Barbara Hamby, author of All-Night Lingo Tango and Babel

About the Author

Erin Keane lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she writes about theater, arts and culture for The Courier-Journal and Velocity. A graduate of the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts and the low-residency MFA program at Spalding University, she teaches in the National University MFA program and in Bellarmine University's interdisciplinary core, Keane is a recipient of fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Kentucky Arts Council, and she directs the InKY Reading Series in Louisville. Her first collection of poems, The Gravity Soundtrack, was published by WordFarm in 2007.

More About the Author

Erin Keane lives, works and writes in Louisville, Kentucky

Erin Keane is the author of The Gravity Soundtrack and Death-Defying Acts, a novel-in-poems about the circus. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Redivider, The Louisville Review, Verse Wisconsin, The Lumberyard, Nimrod, Phoebe, Spoon River Poetry Review. She is an arts reporter for WFPL, Louisville's NPR station.

Keane earned her MFA in creative writing at Spalding University and she teaches in the MFA in creative writing program at National University. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Counci.

Erin lives under the flight path, near a secret cemetery, with her partner Drew and her cats, Harold Bloom and Rex. She'd be happy to show you around.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Meriah L. Crawford on April 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
Especially fond of "How Do You Get a Clown to Stop Smiling?" There is surprising power and emotion and depth of thought lurking behind sometimes-absurd titles. Well-formed and thought provoking. Highly recommended.
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