The Insistence of Beauty by Stephen Dunn

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"Mindful that the world is fragile and essentially subjective, Dunn has molded our eyes to accommodate what's out there."—Miami Herald

"Beauty isn't nice. Beauty isn't fair..." So, in part, states an epigraph for this stunning new collection, his thirteenth, by the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry (2000). First traversing betrayal and loss, Stephen Dunn then moves to speak of new love, with its attendant pleasures and questioning. The title poem, perhaps emblematic of the book as a whole, is evocative of beauty's often surprising manifestations—even in the light of tragedy—as on that terrible day "when those silver planes came out of the perfect blue."

Because beauty jars us, makes us look twice, it is as startling as a good poem, and as insistent. Fortunately, it is never too late to search for the right words for what we've seen, felt, endured. With quiet authority Dunn enacts what it feels like to be a particular man at a particular juncture of his life—struggling not to deny, but to name, then rename.

About Stephen Dunn

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Stephen Dunn is the author of sixteen poetry collections, including What Goes On: New and Selected Poems 1995-2009. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his collection Different Hours. He has also been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and has received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Frostburg, Maryland, with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd.
Published March 17, 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company. 96 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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In the latter part of the book, Dunn seems to cast about for larger themes, and in a few unfortunate poems tries politics, indulging in comments such as: ""Ground zero, is it possible to get lower?"" The poems feel sad, small and wholly out of touch with the broader world, because there is no nec...

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