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May 1997
128 pages  

6 x 9
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The Falling Hour
Wojahn, David
The fifth collection of poetry by David Wojahn. The Falling Hour is a book in which the workings of personal history collide with the forces of public history, examining loss and cultural legacies. Marks a significant advance from Wojahn’s previous works, as he employs both strict forms and free verse.

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David Wojahn is the author of Spirit Cabinet, The Falling Hour, Late Empire, Mystery Train, Glassworks, Icehouse Lights, Interrogation Palace, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and World Tree, winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Poet's Prize. He is the recipient of four Pushcart Prizes, the William Carlos Williams Book Award, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, the George Kent Memorial Prize, and the O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, among other honors. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wojahn is professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University and also teaches in the MFA in Writing Program of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
“In Wojahn's fifth collection of verse—the first since the death of his wife, the poet Lynda Hull—loss and language seem both more at odds and more inseparable than ever. Here grieving is countered with long lines, loquaciousness, and the polyphonic buzz of culture; the holes in the poet's life are filled with smart, terrifying poems. Wojahn seems caught up in a maelstrom of his making, and the result is a stirring, anguished book, revealing of the poet's grief and emblematic of its cost.”—The New Yorker

“What distinguishes Wojahn from other poets who troll the headlines for big ironies is that he is technically interesting and accomplished. In this collection, his diverse influences—his own Minnesota, rock and roll, pentameter, the New York World's Fair, Troy and Ovid—merge admirably.”—Publishers Weekly

“Wojahn's . . . work provides a wide array of formal styles—from the couplet to the sonnet. He constructs an interesting villanelle using unconventional stanza patterns, and the structure of his syntax is reminiscent of the late John Berryman, but Wojahn provides more clarity and coherence. He knows when to sacrifice sound for sense and vice versa. His themes address the pop culture of film and music, but he also addresses classic themes. . . . Often these classical characters and pop films are used as metaphors for death, loneliness, and melancholy that have been reinvented or restructured in the 20th century. . . . Recommended.”—Library Journal

“Wojahn's latest book displays a massive humane intelligence capable of assimilating the blues, Blake, Wittgenstein, feral children, Zyklon-B gas, dermestid beetles stripping carcasses at the Field Museum, and the disaster at Waco, Texas. A profound grief animates this book; equally profound are the poetic resources Wojahn has at his disposal.” —Chicago Tribune

“A stunning and disturbing evocation of intense situations and states of mind. Making it real for the reader is always uppermost in Wojahn's mind. . . . No contemporary poet writes the situated poem more vividly and convincingly than David Wojahn. . . . While the flame of David Wojahn's poetry burns, it burns white-hot.”—Hudson Review

“Like Robert Lowell before him [Wojahn] is both observer and participant, and in these dual roles transcends the limitations of autobiographical exclusiveness. . . . Varied in style and form, these are masterful, intelligent poems that paradoxically offer hope through their courage to suffer and sustain.”—Poet Lore

Complete Description Reviews
Pitt Poetry Series Table of Contents
Poetry Read a selection from this book

The Falling Hour is the fifth collection of poetry by David Wojahn, one of the most highly regarded poets of his generation. It is a fiercly elegiac and even apocalyptic book, culminating in a series of blistering elegies written after the sudden death of Wojahn’s wife, the poet Linda Hull. In these poems, the process of mourning and lamentation is examined in all of its intricacy, rage, and sorrowful ambivalence.


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