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The Last Usable Hour (Lannan Literary Selections) Paperback – June 21, 2011
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"Deborah Landau has put urgency into the often low-key advent of a second book -- these beautiful harrowing poems are new-minted and young, but also age-old, broken and wise. She has found the perfect tone for her 'city of interiors'." (The Huffington Post)
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In dark midwinter, Landau's narrators battle crushing urban ennui, struggling to reconcile fragile self-figurations with New York's harsh realities. Her voices, multiple, bounce off one another, forming a veritable Greek chorus of Gothamite despondency, the white noise of eight million voices wondering. Why am I alone, they ask. Who am I without you. What gives me hope that tomorrow will outshine my long straight line of yesterdays.
Landau's long, cyclic, interlinking poems form cycles that propel themes across different voices, different forms, different cityscapes. Thus she only offers four very long poems in this book--or maybe fifty-three short, untitled poems--maybe many poems, only four titles. It gets very meta. Themes build across several pages, drawing in allusions, thickets of knowledge, winks at moments of shared recognition:
In the middle of my wood, I found myself in a dark life.
The day was going toward the narrow place the blank.
No matter how many glasses of gin
it will get dark on this platform of earth.Read more ›