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March 2004
88 pages  

6 x 9
9780822958406
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Dog Angel
Poems
Kercheval, Jesse
Full of wit, vivid language, and devastating honesty, these poems trace the timelines of Kercheval’s life forward and backward, offering a moving examination of the connections that bind us together into families and communities.
Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, novelist, and translator. She is the author of thirteen books including the poetry collections Extranjera and Dog Angel, and editor of the forthcoming América invertida: An Anthology of Younger Uruguayan Poets. She is the Zona Gale Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Kercheval is a poet unafraid of the universal questions of how we came to be and what we do once on this earth and in these bodies. Dog AngelI shows us the world’s rough and refined beauty and challenges us to learn from it, in language that encompasses both song and joke, and is always finely tuned to both the real world and any and all worlds beyond it."—Allison Joseph

"Juxtaposing American pop culture and European tradition, [Kercheval] takes readers to the Zippo Museum and the Prado, to a college town where ‘everyday we slouched / toward this Bethlehem of lunch counters.’ Kercheval’s imagination torques language; she elegizes human innocence (‘golden in a marzipan of calm’) and critiques the experiences of adult child, artist, parent."—Robin Becker

“The wise and often uncomfortable descent from the notion of God as the ultimate answer to life, to Kercheval’s view that God . . . truly lives in the quixotic vagaries of life. . . What is outstanding about this work is Kercheval’s assured voice, and so whatever she imagines or knows about God, we want to believe without question. . . . Kercheval is the real thing.”—Guy Thorvaldsen, (Madison, WI) Capital Times, 3/29/04

“Death, beauty, fragility, humor, loss, freedom are all fair and fertile game, and within this extremely cohesive collection of poems, Kercheval convinces us that the bile-inducing darkness of being human can and does exist in full view of the wonder of understanding. It is through her deft, contained and often witty touch with language that Kercheval is able to seduce us with the everyday world, and then surprise us as to what riches (and darkness) lie both below and above the status quo.” —Guy Thorvaldsen, (Madison, WI) Capital TimesI, 3/29/04

“Kercheval renders those moments where life, philosophy, history, and culture collide to yield wisdom or the questions that might lead us to wisdom. ‘Dog Angel’ gives us poems that reach towards God.” --Christine Stewart-Nunez, Prairie Schooner, Winter 2005

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Jesse Lee Kercheval writes with wit, vivid language, and devastating honesty in these autobiographical poems. Tracing the timelines of her life forward and backward, she offers a moving examination of the role of family and the possible/probable/hoped for existence of God—and how our perceptions of the divine can be transformed from a kindergartner’s dyslexically scrawled "doG loves U" to the ever-present but oft-ignored Dog Angel of the title. Ranging from a cross-country drive to bury her mother’s ashes at Arlington National Cemetery, to a family vacation in Spain, to an imagined final exam given by her children, Kercheval explores the vagaries of love, loss, faith, grief, and joy with a calm, convincing wisdom that permeates this resonant and wonderful collection.
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