Telling the Difference

Fisher King Press
3
Free sample

"To quote Norman O. Brown quoting Euripedes, God made an opening for the unexpected, and at long last we have what many of us have greatly desired: a collection of poems by Paul Watsky. His is a singular voice in contemporary poetry, with a range that encompasses the wry, the mordant, the laugh-out-loud funny and the deeply moving, often within the same poem. One of Ovid's earliest critics complained that he did not know when to leave well enough alone. In this he resembles the eponymous hero of Watsky's The Magnificent Goldstein, and, come to think of it, Watsky himself, for which we have cause to rejoice."—Charles Martin

"We meet an observant poet telling a story, his story: wryly perceived incidents of family and history-all given with elegance, wit, and intimacy. A concise, carefully crafted, timely view of the world." —Joanne Kyger


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About the author

A native of New York City, Paul Watsky moved to California during the late 1960's, where, after teaching for five years in the English Department of San Francisco State University, he trained as a clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst. In addition to his first book of poetry, Telling the Difference, Paul is the author of Walk-Up Music (il piccolo editions 2015). His haiku, longer poems, and translations have appeared widely in periodicals and anthologies, including Modern Haiku, A New Resonance: Emerging Voices in English Language Haiku,  Rattle, Interim, Smartish Pace, Asheville Poetry Review, and The Carolina Quarterly. He is cotranslator of Santoka (Tokyo, PIE Books, 2006), and poetry editor of Jung Journal:Culture and Psyche.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Fisher King Press
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Published on
Feb 28, 2010
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Pages
100
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ISBN
9781926715001
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / American / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Watsky does the work of 10 poets in this excellent, slim collection. An avid baseball fan, Watsky writes gorgeously of his passion for America’s pastime. To borrow a term from the sport: he’s a utility player. Watsky handles multiple positions with equal dexterity and skill. In fact, there’s not much he can’t do. Verse about Jungian archetypes? He’s got it: “Yes!! shouts Shadow, straight to hell! / Be nice, admonishes Persona. / Partially disrobed, Anima at the mirror peekaboos her hair / first across one breast then the other.” (Watsky is a trained clinical psychologist.) Verse about the Japanese poet Santoka? That’s here too: “Sake / his favorite koan got him / into trouble and then got / him out before the bent / nail of his personality / was pounded / flat.” How about a poem, out by out, of San Francisco Giant Matt Cain’s perfect game? “June 13, 2012, a Wednesday night against / the Astros, we’re down for one of Matt’s trade- / mark gems, especially Houston being nearly / impotent on the road—not that we’re entitled / to point fingers.” And it’s all good. Though he can ably write in a variety of forms, Watsky’s favorite weapon is a sort of prose poem divided cunningly into sharp, un-rhyming couplets. One particularly effective example is “Squaw Valley Pan Shot”: “white pine that nips / the heels of retreating / glaciers a mere ten / millennia ago this summer. God / knows, my timing / can be rotten but I haven’t bought any / ski areas lately.” In this form, the line breaks do the work; “God” is left out on a limb, separated from the knowing he will eventually do. Thus does an approachable meditation on a winter landscape become subtle, incisive theology. As if Watsky didn’t already have enough on his plate. Refreshing poetry that has a little something for everybody. —Kirkus Review
Watsky does the work of 10 poets in this excellent, slim collection. An avid baseball fan, Watsky writes gorgeously of his passion for America’s pastime. To borrow a term from the sport: he’s a utility player. Watsky handles multiple positions with equal dexterity and skill. In fact, there’s not much he can’t do. Verse about Jungian archetypes? He’s got it: “Yes!! shouts Shadow, straight to hell! / Be nice, admonishes Persona. / Partially disrobed, Anima at the mirror peekaboos her hair / first across one breast then the other.” (Watsky is a trained clinical psychologist.) Verse about the Japanese poet Santoka? That’s here too: “Sake / his favorite koan got him / into trouble and then got / him out before the bent / nail of his personality / was pounded / flat.” How about a poem, out by out, of San Francisco Giant Matt Cain’s perfect game? “June 13, 2012, a Wednesday night against / the Astros, we’re down for one of Matt’s trade- / mark gems, especially Houston being nearly / impotent on the road—not that we’re entitled / to point fingers.” And it’s all good. Though he can ably write in a variety of forms, Watsky’s favorite weapon is a sort of prose poem divided cunningly into sharp, un-rhyming couplets. One particularly effective example is “Squaw Valley Pan Shot”: “white pine that nips / the heels of retreating / glaciers a mere ten / millennia ago this summer. God / knows, my timing / can be rotten but I haven’t bought any / ski areas lately.” In this form, the line breaks do the work; “God” is left out on a limb, separated from the knowing he will eventually do. Thus does an approachable meditation on a winter landscape become subtle, incisive theology. As if Watsky didn’t already have enough on his plate. Refreshing poetry that has a little something for everybody. —Kirkus Review
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