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Stalin in Aruba Paperback – February 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0615319308 ISBN-10: 0615319300

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 77 pages
  • Publisher: Black Lawrence Press (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615319300
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615319308
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,725,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shelley Puhak lives in Maryland. Her second collection was selected by Charles Simic for the 2013 Anthony Hecht Prize and her debut collection, STALIN IN ARUBA, was awarded the Towson Prize for Literature. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Carolina Quarterly, FIELD, and Ninth Letter, and in anthologies such as A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Johnson on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's a rare writer who can talk about Stalin and suburbia with equal facility, but that's what Shelley Puhak has done. In her book of poems, STALIN IN ARUBA, there's a satisfying element of voyeurism, of being let in on intimate moments in others' lives. The book concerns itself silmultaneously with the ordinary: "Who can stop thinking of the small things? Dishes against sink, small white feet against chilled linoleum?" (Wars) and the extraordinary, as in her listing of self-immolations, "Monk Quang Duc, the unflinching lotus on the busy streets of Saigon." (Torch) We peek in on the ordinary moments of extraordinary people-Pope Leo X, Lenin, and, of course, the titular character, Stalin. Puhak excavates, lovingly, carefully. From the earth under a suburb where, " ...nothing is allowed to die..." (The Science of the Suburbs) to the deep recesses of the heart where the real truths lie, as in "Nadya to Stalin, 1925," the imagined response of Lenin's widow to Stalin's factual threats of blackmail. But the greatest miracle of this little book is how Puhak digs into and then condenses a broad spectrum of history and humanity and reveals the why of human history repeating itself. "It makes sense that we can live with a thing like war," she writes, "when we have been living with our families so long." (War) Throughout, Puhak's writing is smart and accessible, and these are the kinds of poems that can be read again and again, each time yielding some new understanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cliff lynn on January 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
Had my high school history class been this interesting, I might have actually hung around long enough to graduate. Complete with 20th-century dictators, nipples, graveyard visits and laudanum, Shelley Puhak's beautiful and lyrical take on 20th century world events and leaders is simultaneously a sweeping epic, yet poignantly personal. There are even places where we can sing along. Intelligent, tragic, and hilarious, I can't recommend this work strongly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sonja Livingston on December 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
A powerful collection, the poet's use of language is precise, the content is lush, the result is at once historical and heartfelt--with lines like "constellations spilling across bare/shoulders while the trees pulsed green" Shelley Puhak grabs hold of readers and makes us witness to her full-bodied resurrection of characters from photographs, gravestones, and old letters.
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More About the Author

Shelley Puhak is the author of GUINEVERE IN BALTIMORE (Waywiser 2013), selected by Charles Simic for the Anthony Hecht Prize. Her first collection, STALIN IN ARUBA (Black Lawrence 2009), was awarded the Towson Prize for Literature.

Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Carolina Quarterly, Kenyon Review Online, Missouri Review, and Ninth Letter; and in anthologies such as A Face to Meet the Faces: Contemporary Persona Poetry. Puhak lives in Baltimore, Maryland.