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Gulls Hold Up the Sky: Poems 1983-2010 Hardcover – September 15, 2010
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J. Patrick Lewis's metaphors are both polished and raw, thought out and yet sprung full blown from an imagination as rich as any ancient storyteller's. A marten is 'the turncoat/of violent mouth hungering for small/excellencies,' its prey 'scarlet entertainments.' His mother's life nailed: 'She was trying to kiss him/and hold the camera still and bring forth /something human out of bitterness.' And bits of smart wisdoms (the two don't always hang together) like: 'could have been your epitaph if it had not become your albatross.' And historical poems-some rhymed, some unrhymed-as in the calligraphy of saints he calls 'Ecstatics' with St. Joseph of Copertino 'goofy as a mayfly.' And of one woman in the New Orleans Ninth Ward after the hurricane and flood, he states, 'Her miracle went to a passerby.' In almost the next breath he will have you giggling about the fight between Hemingway and Max Eastman, or writing: 'Alice Munro/Does for short stories/What Rubik/Did for a cube...' If you do not know his name yet-you will. But first, oh first, know his sharp, observant, rich, tapestried poems. --Jane Yolen, author of The Radiation Sonnets, Among Angels, Owl Moon, and many other books
Gulls Hold Up the Sky is a smashing collection of light verse and arresting poetry. If J. Patrick Lewis's fame as a poet for the young has distracted notice from the broad sweep of his talent, this overdue gathering for adults should come as an eye-opener. Affectionate recollections of family, vivid glimpses of life in Russia (which the poet knows well), and surprising verbal pranks all keep us alert, wondering what will come next. With bracing wit, tremendous skill, and generous feeling, Lewis proves himself a poet for all ages, and-who knows?-maybe for the ages as well. --X.J.Kennedy, author of Peeping Tom's Cabin: Comic Verse, 1928-2008, Dark Horses: New Poems, The Lords of Misrule: Poems-1992-2001, and many other books
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