Ragged Anthem

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Product Details
Wayne State University Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.8 X 0.3 inches | 0.3 pounds

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About the Author

Chris Dombrowski is the author of the memoir Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World's Most Alluring Fish and the poetry collections Earth Again (Wayne State University Press, 2013) and By Cold Water (Wayne State University Press, 2009). His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Guernica, Gulf Coast, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, The Southern Review, and others.


CHRIS DOMBROWSKI talks a lot about "the gone" in his new book of poems -- the gone being the dead -- but he's still here. These wonderful poems ask why, and how durable he might be, faced with so much trouble. Which is not fully enumerated in Ragged Anthem, but we understand from the photo of the red-white-and-blue car door on the cover that we all own it, and we're all invited to bring whatever we've got. There is specific trouble, like deaths too intimate and suicide too tempting, and then there is the recently refreshed, universal disquiet about ourselves as Americans, the trouble fellow Montanan Thomas McGuane identified when he wrote the opening line to 92 in the Shade: "Nobody knows, from sea to shining sea, why we are having all this trouble with our republic." The difference being we have a pretty good idea now. We are all living there.

--Dean Kuipers "Los Angeles Review of Books"

There's a poem in Ragged Anthem, the fantastic new book by Chris Dombrowski which comes out this week, that I think about a lot. It's been a long winter, and I printed the poem out and put it on the refrigerator, between the school lunch schedule and a drawing of Wonder Woman. In a collection so stuffed with near-perfect poems that its hundred-odd pages should outweigh an anvil, it's the one that comes to mind in March, when the path to the barn is lacquered in iced chicken shit, half the woodpile is frozen together from the one night I forgot to cover it, and my hands are beat-up and red. The wood-stove stays hungry but the light changes, and the Jays and Cardinals are staking out their territory in the early dark. I went out to fish the other day and wound up following some bobcat tracks to a deer kill, a sort of pinkish Times Square in the snow where every creature from eagle to coyote and fox had come to feed, and a good place to stand, a perfect physical counterweight to the technicolor psychoses of the internet. That's the kind of place where Ragged Anthem lives.

--Jeffrey Foucault "musician"

The glorious song Ragged Anthem sings reveals Dombrowski's allegiance to the living systems of Earth, to kindness, sincerity, wisdom, vulnerability, family, to music and love and all such numinous things, and most of all, a brand of gritty, irreverent, and boldy imperfect grace available to all.

--Derek Sheffield "Terrain.org"

Anyone who thinks poetry is just for sissies hasn't had the pleasure of reading Chris Dombrowski's Ragged Anthem released this spring from Wayne State University Press. Ragged Anthem is appropriately titled. Dombrowski's poems speak to the hard, sometimes brutal but always enduring spirit of nature and America. If you like poetry, [this book] should most certainly make your summer reading list. If you didn't think you liked poetry, this book could change your mind.

--Michael Tidemann "Writers and Writing column in Faribault Daily News"