Graywolf Press, 9781555974350, 80pp.
Publication Date: December 27, 2005
The unillusioned, effervescent new collection by David Rivard, whose poetry "leaves me with a desire to be permanently friends with this mysterious kind of grace" (Tomaz Salamun)
That the sun stands apart
from all that it abuts,
unwilling to judge it,
may be our only real hope.
—from "We Either Do or Don't,
But the Problem Evolves Anyway"
In Sugartown, David Rivard's fourth collection, the poems unwind with the speed of urgent talk, detailing with mischievous humor and fierce candor the catch-as-catch-can experience of American existence. Language and merchandise pass over us in continual feed, and Rivard adeptly, subtly renders this predicament and its costs, while offering in these poems the alternative of paying attention—to one's self, to others, to the seemingly misbegotten world.
The shards of experiences in Sugartown are glimpsed out of the corner of one's eye, in a blur of speed. The shapes are often familiar: the happy candy of cell-phone chatter, menus built to comfort the wealthy, emotions turned into intellectual property rights. Underneath this stream of experience, and traveling at exactly the same speed, is the clarity and surprise that our lives—our small triumphs and failures—seem to matter so much more than anyone would have expected.
About the Author
David Rivard is the author of Bewitched Playground; Wise Poison, which won the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets; and Torque. He teaches at Tufts University and in the MFA Writing Program at Vermont College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.