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October 2009
160 pages  

6 x 9
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Shadow Ball
New and Selected Poems
Webb, Charles Harper
Shadow Ball gathers together in one collection the best of Charles Harper Webb’s prize-winning books, as well as a selection of his newest poems.

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Charles Harper Webb is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Reading the Water, Liver, Tulip Farms and Leper Colonies, Hot Popsicles, Amplified Dog, Shadow Ball: New and Selected Poems, and What Things Are Made Of. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize, and Poets of the New Century. Webb has received the Morse Prize, Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Pollak Prize, and Saltman Prize, the Whiting Writer's Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship, among other honors. He is professor of English at California State University, Long Beach, and teaches in the MFA in creative writing program there.
“For over two decades I've been reading, with great pleasure, the utterly unique poems of Charles Harper Webb. Operating somewhere between the lyric and the narrative—that rich grasslands where absolute clarity and reverberant mystery can happily exist—Shadow Ball shows us why we love poetry: it tries to tell us the truth and because the truth is often painful it sometimes makes us laugh. I can't wait to stand on a chair, wave this book in my hand, and shout: 'Read this book, citizens, read this book!'”—Thomas Lux

“'Unscrew the locks from the doors! / Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!'” Walt Whitman declared, and Charles Webb has come bursting through with great vitality and energy, with his sly wit and his dark irony, his funny bone and his rage, his rock-and-roll sensibility and his American gift for gab, his skepticism and his faith, his cunning art. It is a joy to have this life's work gathered together.”—Edward Hirsch

“Hurray for Shadow Ball! Now the best of Charles Harper Webb's brilliant and funny poems are packed into one book. And the new ones are just as good. Here is a major poet of the twenty-first century who makes us laugh but also gulp uneasily at his spooky knowledge of human nature.” —Maura Stanton

“Webb at his best is genuinely funny and genuinely reliable in his reactions to the dilemmas of middle-aged American men . . . many brisk, sparkling lines.”—Publishers Weekly

“Webb’s poetry, while comic, is full of a poignant sense of the evanescence of things, for Webb is a great noticer. . . .Read this collection and be entertained.” —Main Street Rag

“Webb’s poems deserve the visibility and careful reading [this new volume] will give them. ‘Shadow Ball’ presents a complex sensibility in poems as deep as they are clear. . . .Webb’s chief rhetorical mode in all his work is hyperbole. Fertility of invention is his main characteristic . . . Excess and strangeness vivify his verbal imagination.”—Michigan Quarterly Review

“Shows us the full and hearty scope of human experience, shaped by music and keen perception, all through poems that are carefully crafted for sound, pacing and metaphor. ‘Shadow Ball’ illuminates the range of Webb’s strange talent, a talent rooted, perhaps, in his background as a rock musician and psychotherapist, which makes him particularly skilled at capturing the small moments, the cadence and power of ordinary revelations, the drama, melodrama, tragicomedy and music in the life of Everyman, himself included.”—Rattle

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

An accessible new and selected collection of poems for poetry insiders and general readers. Powerful, passionate, humorous, and often complex, yet fun to read. They go down easy, but pack a whallop.


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