Another Last Day
Poetry Finalist for the 2019 Writers' League of Texas Book Award
Over the course of four collections of poems, Alex Lemon has become known for his kinetic voice and sense of the dark absurd. Now this electrifying poet moves in a new direction—with a book-length sequence at once intensely vulnerable and thoroughly of our moment.
Populated by visions and ghosts, Another Last Day follows its speaker on a search through a natural landscape turned on its edge, the landscape of today’s America. In these poems, the moments of an ordinary day are rendered in raw, nearly hallucinatory detail: Ants drunk on cherry-red hummingbird nectar. An ambulance rushing into the distance. Endless rain. And, stranger: A dog carrying a hand in its mouth. An emergency room filled with moans. A place where reality and dreams merge, where “the dead refuse to be left / underground.”
When Lemon’s speaker invites us “behind my closed eyes,” it is into the vision of a speaker so plugged into the livingness of this world that he is tossed to the edge of living itself. And yet, in his poems, this openness is never just painful. “the world is a terrible place,” he writes, “but I want to last forever // clinging to its teeth.”
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Praise and Prizes
"Gorgeous . . . a meditation on what it means to be alive is revealed [in Another Last Day] by a talented and exacting poet working at the top of his game."
“Bertolt Brecht sardonically claimed that in dark times, too, there will be singing—there will be singing about the dark times. Another Last Day exemplifies that singing. In a sequence of poems that is by turns visionary and visceral, infernal and numbed, Alex Lemon describes the brokenness of our world and the self that breaks with it. Still, though the poems in this book speak from almost unbearable crisis, they are vivid to the point of ecstasy. The times have never been darker, yet Lemon’s imagination has never been more hopefully wild.”
“Since his first book, Mosquito, Alex Lemon’s poems have been bloody and Another Last Day is no exception: ‘in my guts / I feel my home // on fire / my family.’ Lemon’s poems are foiled, lit, intoxicating, and always busy with the beating of wings. A beautiful new book bringing us closer to the edge of the light.”
“Another Last Day is haunted by the possibility of the Apocalypse. In a searing and lyrical display the speaker in this long sequence of couplets insists on interrogating what it means to be human and humane. A pall seems to engulf these landscapes and yet amidst the rubble the knowledge persists that the world is worth saving. And always, despite the detritus and the husks of burnt-out cities, the poems discover the small details that insist on what is immediately salvageable. From the wreckage of our present Alex Lemon skillfully excavates what is blessed.”
“Alex Lemon’s Another Last Day is to the world what a storm is to a flower, which is to say it is a wild testament to love. Lemon lavishes equal attention to the days sliced with sun and the gemmed turtles of stars inching through the nights. With his deft control of the line and sensuous description he captures the lyric moments with equal gravity—collecting litter, wishing to kiss the sick, puddles glimmering like exits, the desire to feed a dog’s loyalty with one’s own heart. In this book the body’s fragility keeps our goodbyes at the ready, keeps us wakeful to ‘each day of this life // deathmad & beautiful,’ keeps us watchful for the humming abundance of each hour.”