Little Kisses

University of Chicago Press
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Called “the master of the poetic one-liner” by the New York Times, acclaimed poet and critic Lloyd Schwartz takes his characteristic tragicomic view of life to some unexpected and disturbing places in this, his fourth book of poetry. Here are poignant and comic poems about personal loss—the mysterious disappearance of his oldest friend, his mother’s failing memory, a precious gold ring gone missing—along with uneasy love poems and poems about family, identity, travel, and art with all of its potentially recuperative power. Humane, deeply moving, and curiously hopeful, these poems are distinguished by their unsentimental but heartbreaking tenderness, pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, formal surprises, and exuberant sense of humor.
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About the author

Lloyd Schwartz is the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the commentator on classical music and the visual arts for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, and a noted Elizabeth Bishop scholar. In 1994, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. His books of poetry include Cairo Traffic and Goodnight, Gracie, both also published by the University of Chicago Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Apr 3, 2017
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Pages
80
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ISBN
9780226458304
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first rule of warfare is to know one’s enemy. The second is to know thyself. More than fifteen years and three quarters of a trillion dollars after the US invasion of Afghanistan, it’s clear that the United States followed neither rule well.

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The war in Afghanistan has been the longest in US history, and in many ways, the most confounding. Few who fought in it think it has been worthwhile. These are difficult topics for any American or Afghan to consider, especially those who lost friends or family in it. This sobering history—written by the very people who have been fighting the war—is impossible to ignore.
Long anticipated, Recalculating is Charles Bernstein’s first full-length collection of new poems in seven years. As a result of this lengthy time under construction, the scope, scale, and stylistic variation of the poems far surpasses Bernstein’s previous work. Together, the poems of Recalculating take readers on a journey through the history and poetics of the decades since the end of the Cold War as seen through the lens of social and personal turbulence and tragedy. The collection’s title, the now–familiar GPS expression, suggests a change in direction due to a mistaken or unexpected turn. For Bernstein, formal invention is a necessary swerve in the midst of difficulty. As in all his work since the 1970s, he makes palpable the idea that radically new structures, appropriated forms, an aversion to received ideas and conventions, political engagement, and syntactic novelty will open the doors of perception to exuberance and resonance, from giddiness to pleasure to grief. But at the same time he cautions, with typical deflationary ardor, “The pen is tinier than the sword.” In these poems, Bernstein makes good on his claim that “the poetry is not in speaking to the dead but listening to the dead.” In doing so, Recalculating incorporates translations and adaptations of Baudelaire, Cole Porter, Mandelstam, and Paul Celan, as well as several tributes to writers crucial to Bernstein’s work and a set of epigrammatic verse essays that combine poetics with wry observation, caustic satire, and aesthetic slapstick. Formally stunning and emotionally charged, Recalculating makes the familiar strange—and in a startling way, makes the strange familiar. Into these poems, brimming with sonic and rhythmic intensity, philosophical wit, and multiple personae, life events intrude, breaking down any easy distinction between artifice and the real. With works that range from elegy to comedy, conceptual to metrical, expressionist to ambient, uproarious to procedural, aphoristic to lyric, Bernstein has created a journey through the dark striated by bolts of imaginative invention and pure delight.
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