Cocktails Poems


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Graywolf Press


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1555973957

9781555973957

72 Pages

$14.00

CAD16.00

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
Publishing Triangle Award for Gay Male Poetry Finalist

Powell follows his two earlier books of verse—Tea and Lunch—with the third installment in his own contemporary take on The Divine Comedy. Cocktails is a collection of poems both harrowing and beautiful that address, among many other topics, the author's gay childhood and his life with AIDS.

These are well-crafted, uniquely structured, and confidently voiced works that strive toward redemption and light within the transformative, often conflicting worlds of the cocktail lounge, the movie theater, and the Gospels. Throughout the book, we encounter a poet whose "lens for examining reality and society is fitted with a very modern filter—passionate wit . . . By breaking up grammar, the line, and [our] common associations, Powell rejuvenates poetry" (Carol Frost).

REVIEWS

Praise for Cocktails

"Powell combines intertextual references with long Whitmanesque lines to create often rollicking poems that delight and challenge, speeding us from insight to insight in a rush of recognizable images and sensations."—Lambda Book Report

"Powell has produced the real thing: poetry that compels, entertains, enlightens, moves, and, especially, changes the reader."—Contemporary Poetry Review

"Cocktails is the third book in a triptych of strangely beautiful poems kindled by the poet's riposte to the AIDS pandemic. Powell has developed an unmistakable style, the world of which allows him to be as literal or transformative—and as narrative or associative—as he needs to be."—American Poet

"This is true art—the voice that struggles to speak of pain without allowing the struggle to take over, and in fact makes beauty of the struggle with grace, as a dancer does with gravity. This is honesty—a breath of fresh air in the literary world we inhabit, one rife with narrow egoism and pretension. This is Powell's highest gift—the ability to reveal the astonishing beauty of truth."—Perihelion

"Here is work that manages to be entirely of-the-moment while at every turn it announces (without preening over it) not merely an awareness, but an actual confidence with such prosodic traditions as the heroic couplet and the pentameter line, such cultural and literary traditions as those of the New Testament and of meaningfully comic punning. No fear, here, of heritage nor of music nor, refreshingly, of authority . . . I admire these poems immensely, for their deftness with craft, their originality of vision, their ability to fuse old and new without devolving to gimmick—and for a dignity as jazzily inventive as it is sheer."—Carl Phillips, from the award citation for the 2001 Boston Review Poetry Contest

"Powell's third, and best, book completes his much-talked-about trilogy about growing up gay and uneasy in the age of HIV—and about living with the virus himself . . . Not a journey to miss."—Publishers Weekly

"Like Powell's other books, this is startling, but this one is startling in a new way, toward its close sounding more like Richard Crashaw—with its rich and elaborate religious imagery, its saintly foods and fabrics—than a casual modern poet."—Thom Gunn

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

D. A. Powell is the author of Tea and Lunch. He is Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • D. A. Powell is also the author of Tea and Lunch. He is the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University.
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