In a city like that one might sail
through life led by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed and, gusting
into one another, they fell in love.
--from "Windy City"
In his second book of poems, Stuart Dybek finds extraordinary vitality in the same vibrant imagery that animates his celebrated works of fiction. A brilliant and deft enactment of place, these poems map the internal geographies of characters who inhabit severe and often savage city streets, finding there a tension that transfigures past and present, memory and fantasy, sin and sanctity, nostalgia and the need to forget. Full of music and ecstasy, the poems of Streets in Their Own Ink consecrate a shadowed, alternate city of dreams and retrospection that parallels a modern city of hard realities. Throughout, one finds poetry enlivened by Dybek's signature talent for translating "extreme and fantastic events into a fabulous dailiness, as though the extraordinary were everywhere around us if only someone would tell us where to look" (Geoffrey Wolff).