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Seeing Stars

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A thrilling new collection from the hugely acclaimed British poet Simon Armitage. With its vivid array of dramatic monologues, allegories, and tall tales, this absurdist, unreal exploration of modern society brings us a chorus of unique and unforgettable voices.

All are welcome at this twilit, visionary carnival: the man whose wife drapes a border-curtain across the middle of the marital home; the black bear with a dark secret; the woman who oversees giant snowballs in the freezer. “My girlfriend won me in a sealed auction but wouldn’t / tell me how much she bid,” begins one speaker; “I hadn’t meant to go grave robbing with Richard Dawkins / but he can be very persuasive,” another tells us. The storyteller behind this human tapestry has about him a sly undercover idealism: he shares with many of his characters a stargazing capacity for belief, or for being, at the very least, entirely “genuine in his disbelief.” In these startling poems, with their unique cartoon-strip energy and air of misrule, Armitage creates world after world, peculiar and always particular, where the only certainty is the unexpected.

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Aug 15, 2011 – Armitage, the author of many books of poetry and prose, is among Britain’s most popular poets (and poets are actually a bit famous over there), though this is only his second individual collection to appear in the U.S. (there was a slim selected volume called The Shout). It’s about time we started seeing his work: Armitage is drily funny, clever, technically adept, and dark, but not too dark. The prose poems forming this new book resemble nothing so much as the recent work of the American poet James Tate, though they’re not quite as wacky. In little prose stories and dramatic monologues, Armitage manages to touch on everything from the concerns of the sperm whale (“Don’t be taken in by the dolphins and their winning smiles, they are the pickpockets of the ocean”) to “the ruins of sex” and ill-conceived ventures like “Cheeses of Nazareth (“I fear for the long-term commercial viability of the new Christian cheese shop in our neighborhood”). The moral of all of these fables might be “don’t get your hopes up,” although Armitage does let a glimmer of light show through here and there, albeit at an odd angle, as when a married couple draw a curtain in the middle of their house, dividing them for life while simultaneously keeping them “inseparable and betrothed.”
Seeing Stars
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  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Aug 02, 2011
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 96 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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