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From North Dakota, where "emptiness / takes up a lot / of space," to Alabama, where a mother offers "nothing / Less than plenty," David Starkey's poems mark him as nothing less than a "fool / For life." His book gives us a fireworks display of creativity as varied and strange as the states it conjures. We scoot along here in a word-RV bound for just about everywhere, from North Carolina, which possesses, so Starkey claims, an atomic peanut (while Texas doesn't, but provides blowing sage) to D. C., memorable for kids in the backseat who won't shut up, to Connecticut centered on "publish or perish" at Yale. The wonders here depend on constant shifts of focus: sometimes the poems inhabit personae-Thoreau, Sojourner Truth, Elvis (not in Tennessee but in Wisconsin)-sometimes they speak for the poet as memoir; always they surprise and thrill with their oddity of attack, their tart-voiced fearlessness, their range of subject as vast as the great country they so fully evoke. -Barry Spacks, Santa Barbara Poet Laureate The book is illustrated by Rafael Perea de la Cabada
David Starkey is the Bye Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, and winner of the W. H. Smith Prize and the Norton Medlicott Medal for Services to History presented by Britain's Historical Association. He is best known for writing and presenting the groundbreaking and hugely popular series Elizabeth and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. He lives in London.