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When Shawn Levy had the notion to write a poem each day for a year, inspired by the obituary pages of The New York Times, he had no way of knowing that the year in question, 2016, would claim so many of the world's most iconic figures. His project became, in effect, a vehicle for surveying the breadth of the twentieth century: Titans from all fields of endeavor, lives that contained one quirky but insoluble achievement, and people who had special significance in his own life. From Nancy Reagan to Muhammad Ali, David Bowie to Arnold Palmer, Prince to Janet Reno, Antonin Scalia to Mary Tyler Moore, and including a Black Miss America, an obsessive weather reporter, the nurse famously kissed by a sailor on VJ Day, the man who put the "@" in your email address, and the last man to walk on the moon, the lives recollected in these one hundred poems provoke compassion, sorrow, outrage, surprise, nostalgia, even laughter.
"This book is a wailing song, with side eye when and where you need it. These poems are a resuscitation of art and heart." --Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge
"... a staggering symphony of lives, with parallels to Michael Lesy's Wisconsin Death Trip and Jim Carroll's 'People Who Died, ' ..." --Ed Skoog, author of Run the Red Lights
"I'm grateful to Shawn Levy for reminding me what a generous, evocative exchange the newspaper obituary can be." --Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses
"With his gimlet eye and big heart, Levy takes us on a backstage tour of our own popular culture." --Dobby Gibson, author of Little Glass Planet
"... moving and insightful ... a striking montage ..." --Juan Delgado, author of Vital Signs
Shawn Levy is the international bestselling author of The Castle on Sunset, Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential, and six other books of biography and pop culture history. A former film critic for The Oregonian and KGW-TV, he has written for The New York Times, Interview, Sight and Sound, Variety, The Guardian, The Village Voice, The Black Rock Beacon, and many, many other publications. He holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of California, Irvine and serves on the board of Operation Pitch Invasion in Portland, Oregon, where he jumps and claps and sings for victory.