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The Last Usable Hour (Lannan Literary Selections) Paperback – June 21, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"The poems of Landau's stunning second collection are dark, urgent, sexy, deeply sad, and, above all, powerful....Landau's abandon is thrilling in the way danger always is...."
(Publisher's Weekly - Starred Review)

"Landau is adept at capturing desire with unique details: "There's a little hole in my boot./ Could you put your finger in it?" Caesuras break the speed of her lines, and she reveals a painterly control of white space....An assured dramatic voice that mourns time passing and love lost." (Library Journal)

"She is both confessional and direct, like Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg. Her taut, elegant, highly controlled constructions meditate upon yearning and selfhood... Landau reminds us of the nuanced beauty of language as, through their directness, her tight, graceful poems make readers feel as if they spoke only to them."--Booklist

"Deborah Landau has put urgency into the often low-key advent of a second book -- these beautiful harrowing poems are new-minted and young, but also age-old, broken and wise. She has found the perfect tone for her 'city of interiors'." (The Huffington Post)

"The Last Usable Hour might be one of our truest examples of serial poetry. Each of the book's four sequences, and each of the poems that comprise them, stand as individual pieces and as chapters in a developing narrative."--The Rumpus

About the Author

Deborah Landau is the author of three collections of poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Paris ReviewPoetryThe New YorkerTin House, and The New York Times. She directs the Creative Writing Program at New York University and lives in Brooklyn

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Product Details

  • Series: Lannan Literary Selections
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556593341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556593345
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 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: #1,325,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Landau is the author of three collections of poetry: The Uses of the Body, The Last Usable Hour, and Orchidelirium. Her work has been published in The Paris Review, Tin House, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Best American Erotic Poems, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and featured on NPR's All Things Considered. She teaches in and directs the Creative Writing Program at New York University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love a poem like midnight Brooklyn blues, following strange frenetic languages down unmarked streets, ordering off menus we cannot read. Meaning peeks between lines, bold but never loud, announcing transcendence in lacunae between heartbeats. Deborah Landau plays English like Gypsy violins, drawing profundities from moments that first seem like collisions. Only when we hear the completed tune do we recognize her full and resonant music.

In dark midwinter, Landau's narrators battle crushing urban ennui, struggling to reconcile fragile self-figurations with New York's harsh realities. Her voices, multiple, bounce off one another, forming a veritable Greek chorus of Gothamite despondency, the white noise of eight million voices wondering. Why am I alone, they ask. Who am I without you. What gives me hope that tomorrow will outshine my long straight line of yesterdays.

Landau's long, cyclic, interlinking poems form cycles that propel themes across different voices, different forms, different cityscapes. Thus she only offers four very long poems in this book--or maybe fifty-three short, untitled poems--maybe many poems, only four titles. It gets very meta. Themes build across several pages, drawing in allusions, thickets of knowledge, winks at moments of shared recognition:

In the middle of my wood, I found myself in a dark life.
The day was going toward the narrow place the blank.
No matter how many glasses of gin
it will get dark on this platform of earth.
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