Scratching the Ghost Poems


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Graywolf Press


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1555976603

9781555976606

88 Pages

$15.00

CAD17.00

Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Dexter L. Booth’s ruminations on loss in this award-winning debut are rooted in a time past but one still palpable and persistent. Here are memories of love lost, family mourned, a father absent, ghosts of hometowns and childhood. Here too is a “Short Letter to the Twentieth Century” and, finally, a “Long Letter to the Twentieth Century,” as if across this collection the poet is mustering up the force to speak back to history.

REVIEWS

Praise for Scratching the Ghost

“In Dexter Booth’s Scratching the Ghost, we experience a vivid, elemental storytelling across childhood through a translation of adult life into a strangely other and beautiful childhood—this is a crazy journey as if through the work of Georg Trakl to early Robert Lowell. These poems are in the tradition of a very few brilliant first books that are utterly memorable."—Norman Dubie
 
"If a haunt is a hangout, a place one frequents, it is also an immaterial visitant, as much a disease or memory as a ghost. And if to scratch is to ease an itch, it is also to cancel. Dexter L. Booth's Scratching the Ghost is, then, a complex vector of materialization and nothingness, an exploration of home, and of memory, and of the equally weird succubi of self and culture, of material beginnings and spiritual implosions. Full of tenderness and uncanny dislocations, this book is a powerful debut, a masterful prelude. Of a writer's work, we say a body. And, as Booth writes in 'Poem for My Body,' every poem is 'stolen by whatever can make use of what I become.'"—T. R. Hummer 
 
"It is all here—passion, violence, whisper-tenderness, loss, and redemption, in poems remarkable for their vividness and raw power. Booth's Scratching the Ghost meditates on the ways experience and memory shape us and the ways our imagination transforms both. In doing so, he gives new insights into human fragility and courage, into childhood's resilience and the bonds of family. Booth's poems are evocative, often searing, and impossible to read without being changed."—Beckian Fritz Goldberg

“In Dexter Booth’s Scratching the Ghost, a cracked egg means the universe is splitting, the slap of a double-dutch rope is a broken-throated hymn, and splitting a squealing hog is akin to lovemaking. These are poems loyal to their own intrepid logic and reckless plausibility. Yet, lest the reader get too giddy in a fun house of mirrors, here, too, are the melodic laments and remarkable lyric passages of a poet who acknowledges the infinite current of melancholy that underlines his journey.”—Major Jackson

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Dexter L. Booth earned an MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University. His poems have appeared in Amendment, Grist, New Delta Review, and Willow Springs. He lives in Tempe, Arizona.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Dexter L. Booth earned an MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University. His poems have appeared in Amendment, Grist, New Delta Review, and Willow Springs. He lives in Tempe, Arizona.
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