By Campbell McGrath
(Ecco, Paperback, 9780060758042, 80pp.)
Publication Date: December 2005
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"America's epic is the odyssey of appetite," Campbell McGrath declares, and these poems track those defining hungers across a social landscape by turns "grave, risible, amazing, banal," cataloging the "vortex of images in a ruined theater the culture comes to resemble," from Rocky and Bullwinkle to "Blue Angels rampant on a field of static, / anthem and flag descending to darkness." In terza rima meditations, rock-and-roll elegies, and abecedarian lyrics, Pax Atomica documents the tangled romance between self and society ("in which / the melody's ampersand ensnares us") in ways both new and familiar to readers of McGrath's five previous volumes. A continuation as well as a departure for one of America's most highly honored poets, this is poetry of formal eloquence and rhetorical power, of vision and engagement. Pax Atomicadescends into the maelstrom of American culture and emerges singing.
Campbell McGrath's previous collections are Shannon, Seven Notebooks, Capitalism, American Noise, Spring Comes to Chicago, Road Atlas, Florida Poems, and Pax Atomica. His awards include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations. He teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami.