Ceiling of Sticks (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry)

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Press:Bison Books Bison Books (September 1, 2010)
Publication Date:2010-9-1
Author Name:Shane Book


Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Shane Book’s collection, Ceiling of Sticks, is a powerful and unflinching sort of documentary poetics. 
It bears elegiac witness to the effects of global politics on individual lives.
Book’s poems carry us to Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Trinidad, and Canada’s west coast; from a religious sacrifice in Tarahumara, Mexico, to Book’s ailing grandfather’s bedside.
They bring an intimate vision of humanity to scenes of inhuman atrocity and suffering; a moment of clarity and empathy to individuals overwhelmed by war or other man-made catastrophes.
The attentiveness of the poems and meditative lyrics reveal a careful allegiance to their subjects and a fearless refusal to turn away.
Filled with experiences of Africa and Latin America, California and the Caribbean, family and lost love, these poems resonate with the intensity of truth as it is lived and written.

About the Author

Shane Book is an award-winning poet and filmmaker, graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. 
His book of poetry, Congotronic, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2015. His other honors include a New York Times Fellowship in Poetry, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and a National Magazine Award.


Literature & Fiction,African American,Poetry,Poetry,Regional & Cultural,United States

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Comment List (Total:2)

  •     this read more like short stories than poems.
  •     An outstanding first book of poems from this author. I feel the cover, a picture from contemporary photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado, represents much of what this collection is about: telling the stories of others. Within the book itself are poems based off of some of Salgado's work. Having studied under poet Philip Levine, one an see Levine's influence on Book almost at once due to the focus being on the people who have no voice or no one to tell their story. This collection is a masterful weaving of journalistic style within a poetic aesthetic that is uniquely Book's. The final poem, "A Curl of Water" is an outstanding poem, both in its long form and weaving of narrative meandering. Exceptional poems. Buy this book and sit with them awhile, you'll be happy that you did.

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