Tuesday, October 28, 2014
"The Americans pledges its allegiance to dirt. And to laptops. And to swimming pools, the Kennedys, a flower in a lapel, plastic stars hanging from the ceiling of a child’s room, churning locusts, a jar of blood, a gleam of sun on the wing of a plane. His poems swarm with life. They also ask an unanswerable question: What does it mean to be an American? Restless against the borders we build—between countries, between each other—Roderick roams from place to place in order to dig into the messy, political, idealistic and ultimately inexplicable idea of American-ness. His rangy, inquisitive lyrics stitch together a patchwork flag, which he stakes alongside all the noise of our construction, our obsessive building and making, while he imagines the fate of a nation built on desire." (davidroderick.net)
“The Americans is a compelling meditation on the ways we go about our lives at this cultural moment, often unmoored from the facts of history though we drift along its shores. Part complicated love letter to suburbia, these poems demand that we consider not only what we are drawn to but also what we fail to see, how the apocryphal feeds our cultural amnesia. The poet asks: Must nostalgia/walk like a prince through all our rooms? This lovely collection shows us a way to confront that question within ourselves.” (Natasha Trethewey, Former U.S. Poet Laurette
“Like Robert Frank in his great photo essay of the same name, Roderick has some news for us: not only do we not know where we’ve come from, we don’t know where we are. With care and a restorative watchfulness, he has made terrific poetry out of our drifting in the fog.” (David Rivard, American Poet)
“The mindfulness and torque of this beautiful collection may be judged by the double drift of its epigraph: Nous sommes tous Américains. Words of solidarity, words of aspiration, words (too often) of chagrin or shame. De Toqueville to Moose Lodge to Trail of Tears: the whole rich mix of it is here, in poems exquisitely conceived and rendered.” (Linda Gregerson, Professor of English and Literature at The University of Michigan, American Poet)
“It’s sort of remarkable the way David Roderick makes such gorgeous music of the deep and abiding loneliness of which our lives—and our nations and dreams—sometimes, often, are made. It’s the music, the beauty, after all, that’s balm to all this sorrow. The Americans reminds me of this.” (Ross Gay, Creative Writing Professor at Indiana University Bloomington, American Poet)
David Roderick teaches creative writing and poetry in the MFA Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Posted by Nick McCollister at 8:00 AM