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Say Goodnight Paperback – April 1, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556590857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556590856
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,237,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

Liu's third collection of mostly imagistic verse discovers the sacred in earthly things, the poet having lost his faith long ago, as he reveals in ``Apostasy,'' which finds Christianity ``a monolith/that grew too heavy.'' The weight bears against the poet's homosexuality, which forms the subject of Liu's more narrative verse as he cruises the beaches of Cape Cod, stalks the video-porn booths of Manhattan's Chelsea, and marches in pride in Washington. Frank sexual poems meant to shockat least to shock the poet's fatherdescribe his lover's coprophilia, their golden showers, ``fisting'' at bars, and an anus that speaks to the poet, ``another rice queen.'' Liu's best poems rely on Zen-like aphorisms and remind us to ``hoard kisses while they last,'' remarking that ``men dream best when they go to bed without food.'' Images of death pervade Lius gnomic verses: so too do torn pages (from calendars, notebooks, a Bible, Blake), empty rooms, children at play, and ants. His Baedeker of travel poems, wonderfully re-creating both the art and decay of Europe, stand apart from his native excursions into anti-gay hypocrisies, mostly in ``the heart of White America.'' A mixed bag, to be sure. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


Action Painting
After The Storm
Against Nature
At Limantour
A Baedeker: At The Rodin Museum
A Baedeker: From Arles
A Baedeker: From Barcelona
A Baedeker: From Marseille
A Baedeker: From Nice
A Baedeker: From Vence
A Baedeker: Guernica
A Baedeker: Plaza De Toros
A Baedeker: The Elgin Marbles
The Bait
Billions Served
Birdsong Forever In That Childhood House
Blackout At The White Swallow
A Boston Fourth
A Calendar (with Months Torn Off)
Crepuscule With Mother
Easter, 1996
First Day
For Those Who Do Not Dream
Forty Years
The Garden
Herring Cove Beach
His Anus As Ventriloquist
Last Day
Last Day
Last Day
March On Washington, 1993
New Colony
No Other World Than This
Nocturnes: Chelsea
Nocturnes: Eighth Avenue
Nocturnes: Fire Island
Nocturnes: Joshua Tree
Nocturnes: Latin Quarter
North Truro
Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God
Ode To Bunker Hill
Off I-80
Old Diary With A Page Torn Out Of It
The Presence Of An Absence In A Midwest Town
The Prodigal Son Writes Home
The Rand Mcnally Road Atlas
Reading Cavafy
Reading Lu Chi
Reading Tu Fu
Ripened Fruit Pulled Earthward To The Ground
Say Goodnight
Say Goodnight
Say Goodnight
Say Goodnight
The Sign
The Storm (1)
Strange Fruit
Strange Music
Stray Dogs
Ten Floors Up
That Room In Which Disaster Played A Part
That Summer
Treasures On Earth
Two Men In A Rest Home Looking Back At Us
Two Men In The Hirshhorn Walking Hand In Hand
Two Men On A Bench Watching The Light Die Down
Two Men On A Swing Watching Their Shadows Lengthen
A Valentine
A Vision Made Out Of Corrugated Tin
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on June 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
In his book "Say Goodnight," poet Timothy Liu writes "What is touched by loss / is sometimes made more sacred" (from the poem "That Summer"). Liu is adept at finding the intersection of the sacred, the political, and the sexual, and this 100-page collection of poems is a remarkable exercise of his voice.
Many of the poems in this book deal with death or other types of loss. He often uses religious imagery and allusions, and much of the book deals with gay male sexuality. There is a strong political flavor to much of this book, more so than in his collection "Burnt Offerings."
Some of the poems that made the biggest impact on me are as follows:
"The Prodigal Son Writes Home," a very in-your-face poem that marries graphic gay sex to religious imagery; "Power," a meditation on society's fixation with the male sexual organ (it opens "Half the penis remains / from a man whose dong had been bitten off / by a dog"); "Billions Served," a grisly poem about the inhumanity of the meat industry; "Oasis," an ironic poem that takes place at the Walt Whitman Service Area, "off the Jersey Pike" (Whitman is also invoked in Liu's collection "Burnt Offerings"); "The Rand MaNally Road Atlas," a humorous haiku with a homoerotic theme; "The Presence of Absence in a Midwest Town," about hate crime and censorship in America; and "Against Nature," a disturbing reflection on scientific inquiry into homosexuality.
Throughout the book Liu demonstrates his keen eye for sensory detail: he notices "dry kelp flaking off our soles like bits / of burnt confetti" (from "North Truro"), or the way "pigeons crown a stone Madonna smeared / with excrement" (from the multipart poem "A Baedeker"). For me, "Say Goodnight" confirms Liu's stature as an amazing contemporary poet.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
The poems in Say Goodnight are clear, brave, and true. They affect the reader like ice falling from a great height, leaving one startled with the force of its brutality and beauty. Timothy Liu is one of our best poets, and with this book, one does not want to say goodnight at all.
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