*Winner of the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry*
I have this rearrangement to make:
symbolic death, my backward glance.
The way the past is a kind of future
leaning against the sporty hood.
—from "Bugcatching at Twilight"
In Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys - D. A. Powell's fifth book of poetry - the rollicking line he has made his signature becomes the taut, more discursive means to describing beauty, singing a dirge, directing an ironic smile, or questioning who in any given setting is the instructor and who is the pupil. This is a book that explores the darker side of divisions and developments, which shows how the interstitial spaces of boonies, backstage, bathhouse, or bar are locations of desire. With Powell's witty banter, emotional resolve, and powerful lyricism, this collection demonstrates his exhilarating range.
About D. A. PowellSee more books from this Author
Powell has now turned the corner from promising new poet into established power. This fifth collection condenses his obsessions into poems clearer and more compact than ever, some scathing and others comedic, some based on life stories and others built on puns.Read Full Review of Useless Landscape, or A Guide... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly
...dark but deeply, deeply beautiful. Powell has written some of hell's music, and it's among the best you'll hear.Read Full Review of Useless Landscape, or A Guide... | See more reviews from NPR
There are poems in this collection reminiscent of Steinbeck's squint-eyed documentary fiction, and others of Lana Turner. Combining these impulses, D.A. Powell has given a whole new sound to the Central Valley. In fact, it's hard to imagine it now without him.Read Full Review of Useless Landscape, or A Guide... | See more reviews from Star Tribune
Powell is a renowned formalist; though he does not hew rigidly to rhyme or metrical constraints, there's a chiseled architectonics to his verse. These poems double back on one another, fugually, repeated words acting as secret passageways running from page to page.Read Full Review of Useless Landscape, or A Guide...
Invoking the language of infestation common to agricultural centers, Powell, in poems like “Quaratine” and “Bugcatching at Twilight,” offers new ways of talking about loss and anxiety due to AIDS.Read Full Review of Useless Landscape, or A Guide...
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