eTextbook: Almanac: Poems

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    Author(s): Smith, Austin

    ISBN 10: 069115919X. See all ISBN's

    ISBN 13: 9780691159195


    Publisher: Princeton University Press

    This is an eTextbook Learn More


    Almanac is a collection of lyrical and narrative poems that celebrate, and mourn the passing of, the world of the small family farm. But while the poems are all involved in some way with the rural Midwest, particularly with the people and land of the northwestern Illinois dairy farm where Austin Smith was born and raised, they are anything but merely regional. As the poems reflect on farm life, they open out to speak about childhood and death, the loss of tradition, the destruction of the natural world, and the severing of connections between people and the land.

    This collection also reflects on a long poetic apprenticeship. Smith's father is a poet himself, and Almanac is in part a meditation about the responsibility of the poet, especially the young poet, when it falls to him to speak for what is vanishing. To quote another Illinois poet, Thomas James, Smith has attempted in this book to write poems "clear as the glass of wine / on [his] father's table every Christmas Eve." By turns exhilarating and disquieting, this is a remarkable debut from a distinctive new voice in American poetry.

    From Almanac:

    Austin Smith

    Amongst the masterpieces of the small-town
    Picassos and Van Goghs and photographs
    of the rural poor and busts of dead Greeks
    or the molds of busts donated by the Art
    Institute of Chicago to this dying
    town's little museum, there was a mummy,
    a real mummy, laid out in a dim-lit
    room by himself. I used to go
    to the museum just to visit him, a pharaoh
    who, expecting an afterlife
    of beautiful virgins and infinite food
    and all the riches and jewels
    he'd enjoyed in earthly life,
    must have wondered how the hell
    he'd ended up in Freeport, Illinois.
    And I used to go alone into that room
    and stand beside his sarcophagus and say,
    "My friend, I've asked myself the same thing."

    All ISBN's for this title:

    ISBN 10: 069115919X, ISBN 13: 9780691159195, eISBN 10: 1400848032, eISBN 13: 9781400848034

    1. List price can refer to either the digital or print list price, whichever is available to Kno.

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