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Ship of Fool Paperback – February 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press; 1st Edition edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597094463
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597094467
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,706,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A native Midwesterner, William Trowbridge was born in Chicago and grew up in Omaha. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and an M. A. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University.  His poetry publications include five full collections: Ship of Fool (Red Hen Press, 2011), The Complete Book of Kong (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2003), Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger (University of Arkansas Press, 2000, 1995, 1989),  and three chapbooks, The Packing House Cantata (Camber Press, 2006), The Four Seasons (Red Dragonfly Press, 2001) and The Book of Kong (Iowa State University Press, l986). His poems have appeared more than 30 anthologies and textbooks, as well as in such periodicals as Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, Columbia, Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and New Letters. He has given readings and workshops at schools, colleges, bookstores, and literary conferences throughout the United States. His awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarship, a Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Yaddo, and The Anderson Center. He is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University, where he was an editor of The Laurel Review/GreenTower Press from 1986 to 2004. Now living in Lee’s Summit, MO, he teaches in the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA in writing program. His hobbies include motorcycling on his Triumph Sprint 995 S/T, travel, and trying to keep the damn rabbits away from the hibiscus.


More About the Author



Biographical Note

The current Poet Laureate of Missouri, William Trowbridge holds a B.A. in philosophy and an M. A. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University. His poetry publications include six full collections -- Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems, Ship of Fool (Red Hen Press, 2014, 2011), The Complete Book of Kong (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2003), Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger (University of Arkansas Press, 2000, 1995, 1989), and three chapbooks, The Packing House Cantata (Camber Press, 2006), The Four Seasons (Red Dragonfly Press, 2001) and The Book of Kong (Iowa State University Press, l986). His poems have appeared in more than 30 anthologies and textbooks, as well as in such periodicals as Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, Columbia, Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and New Letters. He has given readings and workshops at schools, colleges, bookstores, and literary conferences throughout the United States. His awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize, a Bread Loaf Writers' Conference scholarship, a Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award, and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Yaddo, and The Anderson Center. He is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University, where he was an editor of The Laurel Review/GreenTower Press from 1986 to 2004. Now living in Lee's Summit, MO, he teaches in the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA in writing program. His web site is http://williamtrowbridge.net.

Customer Reviews

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Bill read several Fool poems from his upcoming collection.
D.Ravenberg
I'd recommend reading this book a bunch of times, for the humor, the unflinching look at humanity, and the no-frills formal touch.
A North Carolina Fan
In short, even with the high expectations I had for this collection, I was still impressed.
D. S. Atkinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Atkinson on January 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been waiting for a collection like this to be published for over two years now, since I first heard William Trowbridge read one of his Fool poems. It hit me in a way that few poems do, mixing insight with compassion and humor as well as gallows humor and submission to the meekness of human existence, and I had to read more. I went to someone I trusted to be familiar with Trowbridge's body of work only to find out that Bill had not yet collected those particular poems. Well, now he has and I can honestly say that no matter what I imagined in my anticipation, Bill has outdone. These poems exemplify the complex miracles that Bill achieves with a simple voice, creating jabs and quips that my ear revels to listen to and at the same time slipping in such unexpected word choices and images that I feel like clapping in the middle of poems. But, that is what I always expect of Bill. These poems are more. In these poems Bill reexamines the archetype of the fool, strangely combining the esoteric understanding of an 18th century ceremonial magician with the voice of a Nebraska farmer trying to explain Odysseus to his chickens. The poems are funny at the same time they are tragically touching, compassionate at the same time that they are cruel, and sophisticated at the same time that they are crude. I think the evidence of similar themes in the non-Fool poems included in this collection, perhaps of a more autobiographical sort of voice, demonstrate that Trowbridge looks at the fool archetype as a distillation of the most human parts of all of us. Like Fool, we are big-hearted, but we break everything we touch. We try hard, but are purest motives only seem to draw down accidents and malice on our heads. Basically, we are out of luck, but we are blessed.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A North Carolina Fan on May 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
All Aboard the Black-Sailed Unfamiliar

I've read Ship of Fool several times over the past week, and it has been a terrific pleasure; these poems are lean, funny, ruefully true, richly figurative, and technically flawless. I've probably read "Fool and His Money" six times. One of the things that's chiefly impressive here is the relationship between line and syntax: stretching a plain-spoken, but musically impressive sentence across the rack of a metered or quasi-metrical line, employing as few prepositions and other cloggers as possible without being conspicuous or weirdly Hopkins-like. It creates this lurchy, tortured music that is characteristic of American speech but also redeems those important parts of the English formal tradition which connect, say, Frost to Wordsworth. Poems like "Flight of the Fool, 1902," for instance, are worth reading not just for the chilling content or even for the voice alone, but for the FORMAL thing, the way the poet makes a sentence spin out with absolute inevitibility while, at the same time, managing to flirt with, allude to, and sometimes downright commit to tetrameter, with brushstrokes and shades and daubs of rhyme against a colorful background of alliterative talk. Which I mean in the most impressive way: the style, taken as a whole, is transparent; you just don't notice, right off at least, how you are being shaped and guided formally and how that creates so much of the poems' heartbreaking closures and fireworks. That's where, to digress, the poetry wars figure in so importantly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D.Ravenberg on March 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've tried my hand at poetry. The effort resulted in two realizations: I am not a poet, but I should probably be worshipping at least a few of them.
It's rare for me to find a poet that I really like. That's not because there aren't plenty of good ones out there, it's just that most of what they have to say goes over my head. It's my problem, not theirs. I've always like Robert Frost - who doesn't? Today is a day for firsts, though, and I can now say I've got a favorite poet. His name is William Trowbridge, and his latest collection, Ship of Fool, is absolutely brilliant.
I was around for one of his live readings prior to the book's release. Bill read several Fool poems from his upcoming collection. I was captivated, entertained, and left wanting more. I laughed, hard; I pondered my own foolishness, and I immediately made my way to the merch table to get my hands on something with Bill's name on it. This is poetry that anyone can relate to, because everyone's a fool...at least two times a week. But it goes deeper than antics and slapstick imagery, much deeper. It's smart and unbelievably clever; you'll find yourself re-reading and re-reading most of them.
There are plenty of you out there who hear the word poetry and run. Don't do it! Ship of Fool is brimming with poetry that EVERY reader can enjoy.
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