Monument in a Summer Hat


Product Details

New Issues Poetry & Prose
Publish Date
6.3 X 0.26 X 9.72 inches | 0.39 pounds
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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.


"This book will get a lot of well-deserved attention. A former public defender in New Hampshire and now a graduate student in Wisconsin, Abramson has picked up a very large following as a blogger and commentator, covering poetry, politics, and higher education, and generating a controversial, U.S. News-style ranking of graduate programs in writing. After all that, what's left for the poetry? Plenty: serious and ambitious, full of torqued proverbs and hard-to-follow advice, Abramson's own work shows a poet uncommonly interested in general statements, in hard questions, and harder answers, about how to live: Everyone knows what not to do/ in a dream, he warns, and in a dream everyone has the heart/ to tell you who you are. Waking life, he implies, turns out harsher, and stranger. Abramson's work as an attorney impinges on several memorable poems: the worst/ is meeting those people you know/ you can do nothing for. American regions--the Upper Midwest, Boston, northern New England--also draw attention, and sometimes ire. Ultimately, though, Abramson's taut phrases show a personality, sometimes welcoming, and sometimes grimacing, at a tough, lovely, often inhospitable world: It is not too early for us// to turn our backs on the track, he advises, before announcing YES--// there is no secret self--/ but still/ I follow it everywhere."-- "Publishers Weekly"