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Fortune: Poems Hardcover – February 15, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Eastern Washington University Press; First Edition edition (February 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597660264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597660266
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,244,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Only someone who has a deep capacity to love and enjoy the music of life could have written these wonderful, troubling poems. There's a tenderness at the core of Fortune, where the commonplace becomes atypical and fantastical, and each poem possesses a voice that summons and reveals. Joseph Millar is a poet we can believe." (Yusef Komunyakaa, winner of the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for poetry) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Joseph Millar's previous book of poems is Overtime. "If you want the real news of how America lives, of what it's like to be here with us, Millar will tell you with exacititude and delicacy in poems like none you've read before." --Philip Levine, Ploughshares

More About the Author

JOSEPH MILLAR's first collection, Overtime (2001) was finalist for the Oregon Book Award. A second collection, Fortune, appeared in 2007. Millar grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Johns Hopkins University and spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay area working at a variety of jobs, from telephone repairman to commercial fisherman. It would be two decades before he returned to poetry. His poems--stark, clean, unsparing--record the narrative of a life fully lived among fathers, sons, brothers, daughters, weddings and divorces, men and women. His work has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2008 Pushcart Prize and has appeared in such magazines as DoubleTake, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, APR, and Ploughshares. In 1997 he gave up his job as telephone installation foreman to try his hand at teaching. A new chapbook, Bestiary, is now available from Red Dragonfly Press, and a third collection, Blue Rust, will be published by Carnegie-Mellon in fall of 2011. Millar is now core faculty at Pacific University's Low Residency MFA and lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife, the poet Dorianne Laux.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bob F. on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading Millar's heart-breaking earlier "Overtime," I didn't think of him as a particularly religious poet--and I suppose that I could go back and find lines of great spirituality--but there is a deep yearning for the ineffable in this collection, "Fortune."

In his spot-on lines, ostensibly about "Old Men at the Gym," Millar ends with "where the Hebrew children sat down and wept / for their exile, remembering Zion." And I immediately think of a local gym/fitness center where men and women of a certain age sweat in their baggy pants and corny shirts, holding back their eventual exile. Then the final lines of another poem, "the advent candle burning down / all over the Western world," an aptly phrased expression that I wish that I had thought of--no lines have ever moved me as much.

Somehow even some lines about being grateful for having eaten "roughage" the night before seem like a prayer in this sterling poet's hands. Who else would "bask in gratitude" for roughage! ... and when working with tools, his eyes lowered, gray vapor "ghosting the air," he ends with [what I feel are] the "sparks" of creation from a kabbalistic view of those shining sparks that can be found in the least likely places.

And, once again, what other of the many, many male poets who somehow come out perfect fathers and virile wearers of animal skins would begin a poem with, "the yarmulke hides the bald spot on my goyische skull?" This poem,"American Wedding," is a favorite of mine, beginning with the strangeness of "the other," through premonitions of what all of us know can happen to ruin what begins with the lifting a veil from "delicate temples," and goes on to "swallowing down the thick nuptial wine / getting ready to dance all night."

I pray that we all dance all night and that there will be more such volumes that give us cause to dance.
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