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Fortune: Poems Hardcover – February 15, 2007
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"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)
"Fortune grows out of ruin, out of the deep wounds of history: a young boy losing his mother, mental illness, alcoholism. Much blood―stained beauty here―lush singing―a fierce and tender voice. " (Anne Marie Macari, author of Ivory Cradle (2000) and Gloryland (2005)) --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
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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.