Intro to Poetry

Patter (2014)

For a couple struggling with infertility, conception is a war against their bodies. Blood and death attend. But when the war is won, and life stares, hungry, in the parents’ faces, where does that violence, anxiety, and shame go? The poems in Patter re-imagine miscarriages as minstrel shows, magic tricks, and comic strips; set Darth Vader against Oedipus’s dad in competition for “Father of the Year;” and interrogate the poet’s family’s stint on reality TV. In this, his third collection, award-winning poet Douglas Kearney doggedly worries the line between love and hate, showing how it bleeds itself into “fatherhood.” . . . read more

Olympusville (2014)
Poetry. Greek Mythology.

Imagine a heaven populated by familiar Greek gods. Sexy Aphrodite, gorgeous Adonis, Ares the warmonger, Artemis the huntress, wise Athena, bitter Demeter, and the like. But imagine also each of these denizens of Olympus stepping forward and revealing qualities that any reader can recognize: Hades, ruler of the underworld, lovesick for Persephone. Baffl ed Hephaestus, god of fire, husband of Aphrodite who can’t keep her clothes on. Add a defiant Sisyphus and a cadre of grumpy water nymphs and those are only some of the inhabitants of Olympusville—a fantastic and, in the hands of poet Ron Koertge and illustrator Alicia Kleman, endlessly intriguing world . . . read more

Transatlantic Connections (2019)
Poetry. Nonfiction. New Formalism.

In the 1950s, a group of brash young British writers coalesced into a controversial poetic and critical movement known simply as the Movement. In the 1980s, a group of brash young American writers coalesced into an equally controversial poetic and critical movement known as New Formalism. Especially since the British coalition known as The Movement was short-lived, surviving less than a decade, few people could have predicted that it would have an impact that was both far-reaching and long-lasting. This groundbreaking new study shows that the Movement lives on, in a very real way, in New Formalist poetics and poetry . . . read more

The Diviners (2019)
Poetry. Nonfiction. Formalism.

A book-length poem that brilliantly reinvents narrative poetry, The Diviners is a single poem divided into five chapters, each a different decade. McDowell relates the most crucial developments in each decade spanning from the 1950s through 1990s, of the shared lives of Al, Eleanor, and their son, Tom. The Diviners records in blank verse the family’s beginnings, their growth, their problems, their separation, and their ultimate reunion. The events that follow the intertwined lives of the characters illustrate the endless capacity for human empathy. . . . read more