James McMichael

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

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Capacity, the extraordinary new collection from the award-winning poet James McMichael, deliberates an earth that supplies what people need to live. Land, water, sky, food, shelter, thought, talk, sex—each is addressed at the pace of someone dense with wonder’s resistance to take for granted even the smallest or most obvious parts of existence.
Capacity is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Poetry.

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The frontispiece fixes as


a man whose

livelihood is the grass. As he had

before the take and


he plies away in the sun.

"Market Day."

Storefront awnings slope into the square.

Among the occupied,

only the vendors are without hats.


sweet and full of pickle are the hooked gibbets of

beef above the pens.

The plate after

"Tractors on Parade" is untitled.

Where the village high street’s

walls converge at the far end,


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James McMichael reads"The British Countryside in Pictures"

"Listen to this poetry reading and hear poet James McMichael read his poem ""The British Countryside in Pictures,"" from his poetry collection Capacity, a finalist for the National Book Award. This extraordinary collection refuses to take for granted even the smallest or most obvious parts of existence. Learn more about the book Capacity at Read more about the poet James McMichael at"

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Praise for Capacity

“[McMichael’s] strongest work . . . What makes him so unique in American poetry right now is the strength and subtlety with which he blends conceptual ambition with emotional power.”—Peter Campion, The Yale Review

“McMichael is the 13-year cicada of poetry. With roughly the same regularity he surfaces, sheds his old skin and delivers a song that’s entirely his own . . . Everything, from immigration patterns to heartsickness, is described in the same objective, almost clinical tone—a strange and wonderful choice, lending disproportionate power to the subtlest gestures.” —Eric McHenry, The New York Times Book Review

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About the Author

James McMichael

James McMichael is the author of five books of poetry, including The World at Large: New and Selected Poems, 1971–1996. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Shelley Memorial Prize.

James McMichael


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James McMichael


National Book Awards - Finalist

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
March 2007
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374530723
ISBN10: 0374530726
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 88 pages

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
June 2014
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466873216
ISBN10: 1466873213
88 pages

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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