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The Americans

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David Roderick’s second book, The Americans, pledges its allegiance to dirt. And to laptops. And to swimming pools, the Kennedys, a flower in a lapel, plastic stars hanging from the ceiling of a child’s room, churning locusts, a jar of blood, a gleam of sun on the wing of a plane. His poems swarm with life. They also ask an unanswerable question: What does it mean to be an American? Restless against the borders we build—between countries, between each other—Roderick roams from place to place in order to dig into the messy, political, idealistic and ultimately inexplicable idea of American-ness. His rangy, inquisitive lyrics stitch together a patchwork flag, which he stakes alongside all the noise of our construction, our obsessive building and making, while he imagines the fate of a nation built on desire.

Winner of the 2014 Julie Suk Award for the best poetry book published by an independent press.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 29, 2014 – Roderick (Blue Colonial), associate professor of English at UNC-Greensboro, meditates on identity, citizenship, faith, and war in his second collection of poems. He veers between a restrictive summarizing of the American Experience (as in the poem "After de Tocqueville," which references Cortez, Satchmo, Columbus, the Choctaw, Willa Cather, Walt Whitman, and Jack Kerouac) and more successful examinations of his own particular American identity. The book is split into three sections, interspersed by a series of epistolary poems addressed to a generic "Suburb." Through these he interrogates his tense relationship with this symbol of 1950's homogenization. In the first "Dear Suburb" poem, Roderick admits to being drawn towards suburban sterility, a "need,/ that scared need to whiten/ or clean a surface: plywood or lawn." But he also declares this to be a kind of infestation: "though you live/ inside me, though you laid eggs/ in the moisture at the corners/ of my eyes, I still dream about/ your sinking empire." Roderick's poetry exposes the uneasy correlation between domestic comfort and U.S. militarism: "I think of the Enola Gay parked in the Smithsonian,/ where a woman smashed a jar of blood on its wing./ When I signed my mortgage, I also signed/ for the peonies and for the shield of my yard's/ tall trees."
The Americans
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: Oct 10, 2014
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Seller: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Print Length: 88 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 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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