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Ideal Cities: Poems (National Poetry Series) Paperback – August 17, 2010
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“Erika Meitner is the new voice of intelligent and emotional poems. Good for poetry. Good for poetry lovers. Good for the rest of us, too.” (Nikki Giovanni)
The poems in Erika Meitner’s Ideal Cities are road maps, blueprints, dollhouses, dioramas.....Meitner’s poetry isn’t afraid of history and personal histories. Her voice is smart, sassy, and savvy. Her ideal poems are built with mortar and quirkily astounding metaphors (Denise Duhamel)
From the Back Cover
Exploring themes of pregnancy, motherhood, ancestry, and life in the borderline slums of Washington, DC, the richly felt and adroit poetry of Erika Meitner's Ideal Cities moves, mesmerizes, and delights. The work of an important emerging voice in contemporary American poetry—a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Prize as selected by Paul Guest—Ideal Cities gloriously perpetuates NPS's long-standing tradition of promoting exceptional poetry from lesser-known poets.
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Many of these poems are long, and yet while reading, they don't feel as though they should have ended on the page before. Meitner captures the feeling of geography and uses the various places she's lived or visited as back drops. She writes about relationships, pregnancy, being a new mother. In "The Upstairs Notebook" she writes about how she was going to take her infant son to see the elephants at the circus but it was just too much work to gather up all the supplies needed to go out with a new baby
The title poem, Ideal Cities, has effervescent lines such as:
"Ideal cities are cities where the neighbors
play soul music all night long & don't care"
".......In ideal cities your neighbor sells pot to the cops
for a living,though you've never seen him do it & most days
he wears a caftan to glue rhinestones on the cement frogs"
Even her titles sing: The Violent Legacy of Household Monogamy, Preventing Teen Cough Medicine Abuse.
Her prose poem, "The Chimneys in New Jersey", is exquisite.