Not on the Last Day, but on the Very Last

Not on the Last Day
Not on the Last Day (back cover)

Not on the Last Day, but on the Very Last

"A stunning achievement." —JOHN ASHBERY
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Mothers masquerading as witches and sepulchral bellhops who reveal themselves to be fathers: in Justin Boening’s debut collection of poems, selected for the National Poetry Series by Wayne Miller, nothing is as it seems.

Peopled by figures both uncanny and tragic—lionesses who dance and cry, surgeons who carry with them the trauma of past lives, an opera singer whose notes go awry—Not on the Last Day, but on the Very Last uses the language of dreams and of fairy tales to deliver a keenly felt exploration of family, grief, regret, and belonging. Here everything stands for something else. But though the Freudian mother and father lurk behind every sequined costume, continue to strip away the masks, Boening suggests, and you’ll find an even more primal absence at the center—Nobody, No One, mortality, death. Beyond that, we find, lies only the truth of our relationships with each other.

Shot through with mournfulness, gorgeously spangled in its language—“a squall of chrysanthemums / and the weird”—Not on the Last Day, but on the Very Last is an unforgettable collection about our human failings and the grace we seek.

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5.5 × 8.5 × 0.25 in
4.3 oz
Justin Boening

Justin Boening is the author of Not on the Last Day, But on the Very Last, a 2015 National Poetry Series winner. He is currently a senior associate editor at Poetry Northwest, and is a founding editor at Horsethief Books.

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