By D. A. Powell
Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555973957, 66pp.
Publication Date: March 2004
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kids everywhere are called to supper: it's late
it's dark and you're all played out. you want to go home
no rule is left to this game. playmates scatter like
they return to smear the ______. and you're it
--from "[you'd want to go to the reunion: see]"
In Cocktails, D. A. Powell closes his contemporary Divine Comedy with poems of sharp wit and graceful eloquence born of the AIDS pandemic. These poems, both harrowing and beautiful, strive toward redemption and light within the transformative and often conflicting worlds of the cocktail lounge, the cinema, and the Gospels.
"Powell recognizes in the contemporary the latest manifestations of a much older tradition: namely, what it is to be human . . . I admire these poems immensely, for their deftness with craft, their originality of vision, their ability to fuse old and new without devolving to gimmick-and for a dignity as jazzily inventive as it is sheer." -Carl Phillips, from the citation for the 2001 Boston Review Poetry Contest
"Here is work that manages to be entirely of-the-moment while at every turn it announces (without preening over it) not merely an awareness, but an actual confidence with such prosodic traditions as the heroic couplet and the pentameter line, such cultural and literary traditions as those of the New Testament and of meaningfully comic punning. No fear, here, of heritage nor of music nor, refreshingly, of authority....I admire these poems immensely, for their deftness with craft, their originality of vision, their ability to fuse old and new without devolving to gimmick--and for a dignity as jazzily inventive as it is sheer." --Carl Phillips, from the citation for the 2001 Boston Review Poetry Contest
"In Cocktails, D. A. Powell's lens for examining reality and society is fitted with a very modern filter-passionate wit."--Carol Frost