|I’m in the process of revising this manuscript before sending it out. It’s been such a long hiatus since I’ve marketed anything, my concept of the book has shifted a bit. I’m deleting poems and adding new ones. Life in the hot house of the bell jar can germinate much new work. (Maybe the more accurate image is petri dish in a frying pan.) One of the few benefits of almost terminal procrastination is I can now shuffle poems from all parts of my life into several books. So much for anyone being able to determine the maturation and development of this artist. |
Do poets really mature? I’m as surprised as I’ve ever been when I stumble onto a good poem. I can coax a mediocre poem into a slightly better state these days, but can’t generally change its essential nature. I believe more in the mantle of revision than I did, in the sense of the rough cloth the rustic Irish wore as the only cover for their nakedness. But what constitutes a fine poem today is the same for me as what constituted a fine poem for me twenty years ago. I’m still astonished when I can snatch one from the invisible tree, and the Garden of Hesperides is just as far away . . .
Advance Praise for Homecoming
The poems in Homecoming have a wonderful way of shuffling together erudition, contemporary absurdity, and sexual tension. Stephen Perry—amateur physicist, botanist, lepidopterist—has a scientific fix on the details of the earth, and he expresses what he apprehends with a quirky passion and a lively sense of linguistic play.
Stephen Perry has a novelist’s racing momentum and the lyric poet’s sad, sweet music. The poems in Homecoming keen, croon, careen. His imagination is always sympathetic, always surprising. If Hieronymus Bosch had painted Los Angeles—didn’t he?—this is what it would look like.
—J. D. McClatchy
Stephen Perry’s Homecoming is a crucial book of fast, certain movement. The motions, extreme as they must be in the extremity of their occasions, never blur. The imagery is wild by nature, not by force. And the sound! The sound is the music of our common Terror becoming, somehow but certainly, Joy. Indeed, Homecoming offers me a genuine hope for getting home to the New Heaven of This Earth. Perry is a man who has come through. His poems are brilliant evidence and a perfect map.
Billy Collins has published eight books of poetry: Pokerface; Video Poems; The Apple That Astonished Paris; Questions About Angels, which was selected for the National Poetry Series; The Art of Drowning; Picnic, Lightning; Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems; and The Trouble with Poetry: And Other Poems. The Best Cigarette and Billy Collins Live: A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space feature him reading his own work on CDs. He has received National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim, and New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships. In 1992, he was chosen by the New York Public Library to serve as “Literary Lion” and in 2001-2003 he served as the U.S. Poet Laureate. In October 2004, Collins was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry.
J. D. McClatchy is the author of five collections of poetry, Scenes from Another Life, Stars Principal, The Rest of the Way, and Ten Commandments, Hazmat, and two books of critical essays on contemporary poetry, White Paper and Twenty Questions. Mr. McClatchy’s many honors include an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is editor of The Yale Review and has edited nearly twenty books, including Horace, The Odes: New Translation by Contemporary Poets (2003), The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry (1996), The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990; second edition, 2003), and Poets on Painters (1988). He continues to edit the esteemed “Voice of the Poet” series for Random House AudioBooks and has written many texts for musical settings, including eight opera libretti, performed in opera houses around the world. Basically, the man is both omniscient and omnipresent—and is currently working on self-improvement.
Donald Revell is the author of eight books of poetry: From the Abandoned Cities (National Poetry Series Winner), The Gaza of Winter, New Dark Ages (PEN Center USA West Award), Erasures, Beautiful Shirt, There are Three, Arcady, and My Mojave. He has also translated two volumes of the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire: Alcools and The Self-Dismembered Man: Selected Later Poems. His awards include a Pushcart Prize and a Shestack Prize from American Poetry Review, and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He’s currently the editor of The Colorado Review.
|I am very grateful to the editors of the following journals and anthologies, in which the poems in this collection were first published (or reprinted).|
|Cimarron Review||“Homecoming,” “Satisfaction”|
|Denver Quarterly||“Keats’ Opium Dream”|
|5 AM||“But Here It Is in Black and White,” “Harpsichordist!,” “A Case of Butterflies”|
|Jacaranda Review (from U.C.L.A.)||“Descartes’ Baby’s Asshole”|
|The Journal||“Metaphysical Green”|
|The Kenyon Review||“Excavation”|
|Mixed Voices: Contemporary Poems about Music (Milkweed Editions)||“Fugue”|
|The Bedford Anthology of Literature, Fourth Edition (St. Martin’s Press)||“Blue Spruce”|
|The Bedford Anthology of Literature, Concise Edition (St. Martin’s Press)||“Blue Spruce”|
|The New Yorker||“Blue Spruce,” “Small Myth for My Father”|
|North American Review||“Sorta Kinda But Not Really”|
|Sewanee Review||“Swimming Butterflies” (upcoming)|
|South Coast Poetry Journal||“Black-eyed Susans in the Lemon Tree” won an award in their national poetry contest judged by Mark Strand|
|Sycamore Review (from Purdue University)||“A Little Wine, Some Death”|
|Virginia Quarterly||“Tenements of Rose and Ice,” “Taking a Shower with My Mother”|
|Wisconsin Review||“Legends in Rain,” “Song,” “Song for My Father,” “Walnuts”|
|Yellow Silk||“Thief’s Perfume”|
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