The City, Our City
A breakout collection that showcases the voice of a young poet striking out, dramatically, emphatically, to stake his claim on “the City”—an unnamed, crowded place filled with gunmen, lovers, children, neighbors, builders, soldiers, professors, bouncers, and widowers.
In this series of semi-mythologized, symbolic narratives interspersed with dramatic monologues, Wayne Miller presents a city laden with “kisses in doorways, weapons / and sculptures, concerts / and fistfights, sex toys and votives, / engines and metaphors.” And yet the City, both unidentifiable and readily familiar, is also a place where the human questions and observations found in almost any city—past, present, and future—ring out with urgency.
These poems—in turn elegiac, celebratory, haunting, grave, and joyful—give hum to our modern experience, to all those caught up in the City’s immensity.
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Praise and Prizes
“Fierce lyrical investigations that move in and out of the personal, the historical, and the allegorical . . . It’s the simultaneity of intimacy and alienation in reading Wayne Miller’s book that recommends it most. It’s an experience you’ll want to think about in our divided, post-election, political landscape.”
“This City is less personal, less located in a particular time and place, than Philip Levine’s Detroit, though just as dark. . . . Wayne Miller rams fissionable pieces of history into critical masses of present moments and images to make his subject—human culture as symbolized by the city—explode into meaning.”
“Wayne Miller has written an astonishing book-length sequence. The City, Our City moved and entertained me in the oddest, most compelling ways. Miller’s scope is as large as anyone’s in his generation.”
“These poems are liberating in their strangeness and at the same time they compel us. Their voices are ours, cut into myth.”
“Any City’s name might be scrawled in the open wound—Baghdad, New York, Dresden, Tel Aviv, El Fasher. These poems deal with that last trace of movement at the end of things.”