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In James Armstrong's pellucid poetry the drifting of autumn leaves shares space with the baroque architecture of nineteenth century England. A woman peruses a book of pharmaceuticals in a coffee shop looking for hints of happiness. And a naked woman wearing hip boots stares out of the 1940s in a photograph hung in a Michigan bar. Twilight is always moving the shadows of our urban lives out toward the country, our inherited past, where a deer or a heron waits like an angel glimpsed through the fog. Armstrong's poems elucidate the mystery and beauty of borders– temporal and historical, as well as geographical– while his pastoral sensibility floods our senses with images of the natural world, seemingly stopping time, edifying us, and helping us–for a few moments anyway–to transcend our enervated contemporary lives. Reading this book is like diving into a deep lake. It cleanses the soul.
New Issues Poetry and Prose, 9781930974968, 72pp.
Publication Date: November 1, 1999
About the Author
JAMES ARMSTRONG grew up in Portage, Michigan. Armstrong is the author of Monument of a Summer Hat (New Issues) and Blue Lash (Milkweed Editions). His poems have appeared in Triquarterly, Gulf Coast, Orion, The Snowy Egret, the New York Times Book Review, Shade, and elsewhere. Armstrong received the PEN-New England Discovery Prize for poetry in 1996, and he has been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in poetry and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship in poetry. He is currently a professor of English at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota.
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