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August 2008
104 pages  

5 1/2 x 8 3/4
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For a Limited Time Only
Wallace, Ronald
For a Limited Time Only explores issues of aging, illness, and mortality, and the philosophical and theological speculations that arise from personal tragedy, and invokes humor, hope, and consolation in the face of death and loss.

Winner of the 2008 Posner Book-Length Poetry Award.

Winner of the 2009 Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award.

Read a press release about this book
Ronald Wallace is the author of numerous books of poetry, including, most recently, For a Limited Time Only. He is codirector of the creative writing program, Halls-Bascom Professor of English, and Felix Pollak Professor of Poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Long one of our liveliest, most readable poets, Ron Wallace, in For a Limited Time Only, enters the dark woods of Mr. Grim, where three bad wolves-Age, Loss, and Illness-wait to swallow him. Never fear. Keeping his formidable wit about him, Wallace writes his way out of all three bellies, and-sadder, a little grayer, but still unbowed-springs back 'into the dust and sun-struck air' of the world that he helps us to love.”—Charles Harper Webb

“Ron Wallace's For a Limited Time Only is a verbally mischievous, frankly droll look at illness and aging. These munificent poems embrace the private world-its horrors and pleasures-as well as the cultural world of revisionist fairy tales, children's books, and television. Barbed and poignant, inventive and philosophical, Wallace's poems are continually surprising and formally nimble. For a Limited Time Only shimmers with complication, wit, and wisdom. While our bodies may betray us, Wallace's poems do not.”—Denise Duhamel

Praise for Ron Wallace's previous work: “Ron Wallace has an inventive and witty imagination which takes him into all sorts of surprising directions. His work is not only sure in its craftsmanship, but humanly important in its subject matter and treatment. Best of all, it is exuberantly alive.”—Lisel Mueller on Tunes for Bears to Dance to

Praise for Ron Wallace's previous work: “Wallace writes poetry in forms with remarkable ease and eloquence: sonnets, ballades, even a pantoum. But he is equally adept in free-verse narratives. And his Midwest roots in no way diminish his cosmopolitan outlook or his universal vision. Wallace's poems are by turns fresh, compassionate, whimsical.”—St. Louis Dispatch on Long for this World

“This is a death-inflected collection, filled with meditations upon illness that refuse to buckle in the face of the unspeakable. His wrenching elegies and playful celebrations of the self are always buoyed by his understanding of the richness of experience. Ronald Wallace’s touch is remarkably light even when his heart is heavy.”—Ploughshares

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

Ronald Wallace's eighth collection of poems, is perhaps his darkest and most meditative to date, focusing his experiences with illness, old age, and mortality; his father-in-law's death after a long bout with Alzheimer's; his step-father's death after a painful struggle with esophageal cancer, his own bout with prostate cancer. These personal experiences form the core of the first three sections of the book, but are mediated by theological and philosophical speculations that find further voice in the character of a “Mr. Grim,” whose angry, self-pitying, gruff, comic, self-depreciating, nostalgic, defeated, and hopeful riffs on the human condition provide a bridge to the affirmative, often comic, close. In the final two sections, in poems in praise of his dentist, his barber, his wife, his grandparents, the morpheme, Mr. Malaprop, Pluto, tattoos, hamburger heaven, sex talk, and poetry itself, Wallace once again proves the resilience of hope and humor in what is, for him, finally a world of wonders.


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