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About the Book:

American Wake

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American Wake: New & Selected Poems

Category: Poetry
Format: Trade Cloth, 160 pages
Pub Date: 2005 Spring
Price: $25.00
ISBN: 978-1-58838-180-4
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Thomas Rabbitt’s first book, Exile, won the U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum in 1975, and, through another dozen collections over the years, he has continued to win the admiration of readers and other poets. As Fred Chappell observes, “Mr. Rabbitt is the genuine article. Hardly a line in [American Wake] doesn’t ring with wry, sad humor, along with a plentiful dose of self-mockery. Here is a poet who tries hard—always.”

American Wake contains fourteen new poems, plus poems from six of Rabbitt’s previous books (several smaller books and chapbooks are not represented). The present volume is thus “selected” rather than “collected,” and the poems were chosen by the author on the basis of what caused him the least urge—looking back over three decades of writing—to “slash and burn.”
As readers, we can be grateful that he resisted that instinct toward his earlier work, though he has always done both with our prejudices and preconceived notions. A formalist, traditionalist, modernist, post-modernist, outsider, scholar, and critic—Rabbitt is all and none. The only safe assumption one can make about this gifted writer is that his poems, as Rabbitt said, “disturb the universe just by being.”

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