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Not on the Last Day, But on the Very Last: Poems Paperback – October 11, 2016
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Justin Boening’s lines consistently elude our expectations but somehow encourage and fulfill them in doing so. Surprise is a recurring texture throughout these shimmering poems, and no wonder, when we changed our laws as often as our laws allowed.’ Not on the Last Day, but on the Very Last is a stunning achievement.”John Ashbery
Boening’s work is fearless, self-deprecating, ironic, sublime, heartbreaking, and beautifully wrought. His poems have a way of taking you off guard, of taking you from a real world of celestial certitudes’ through a wilderness where the other world hangs in a museum / of what is not there,’ a world of buskers and strangers, of fortunetellers, of a family gone wrong and a mother gone sour. There are many shadows, and many shades from a curdled past. His muse is an afterlife he swears by, but it is, likewise, one he swears cannot possibly exist. This book has a way of having its way with you, and you like it, you surrender to it. Boening asks, in this marvelous first collection, Is there another world? Is it this one?’ You answer: Yes. It is. It is this one.”Lucie Brock-Broido
Not on the Last Day, but on the Very Last is a book of vividly dreamlike Freudian meditations and parables. There’s a wry fatalism throughout the collection as Boening leans toward an acceptance of mortality and, more importantly, our basic human capacity for failurebut there’s also a quiet playfulness that emerges from inside the traps these poems make. I found myself consistently astonished and thrilled by their ability to reverberate in many directions at once, articulating elemental human paradoxes and needs in ways that feel vital and engaging and new.”Wayne Miller
Boening is capable of a remarkable music of longing, and sometimes a music of the flailing and fantasy that screen for longing. Aside from Kafka, I sense kinship with Mark Levine's cracked landscapes, Mark Strand's serene self-effacement, and Lucie Brock-Broido's extravagant menagerie.”LA Review of Books
Boening's poems are ancient, mystic, sometimes wry, and always ardent. I will be returning to this book often.”Grist Journal
"Filled with unusual juxtapositions and quick cuts that make the poems seem movielike, even trancelike. These Ashbery-esque pieces are strange on the surface yet satisfying in the questions they ask and the challenging answers."Library Journal
About the Author
Born in the Adirondacks, Justin Boening is the author of chapbook, "Self-Portrait as Missing Person," selected by Dara Wier for a Poetry Society of America National Chapbook Fellowship. His poetry has received a Discovery /"Boston Review" Poetry Prize, and other awards and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Bucknell University, Vermont Studio Center, Summer Literary Seminars, and the St. Petersburg Review.
A graduate of Columbia University s School of the Arts, Boening is currently a senior associate editor at "Poetry Northwest" and an instructor at the Columbia University Summer High School Program. He lives in Iowa City, IA.
Top customer reviews
I feel like I can walk around in his rooms but I must have misplaced my glasses. He reminds me that there are still some experiences in life that aren't so easily quantifiable but nonetheless worthy of sharing with one another. And he describes these moments and realms of human emotion as if told through the brush of a cataract-laden late Monet at Giverny. It's not so clear but you get the picture.