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July 2009
104 pages  

5 1/2 x 9
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In Praise of Falling
Dumesnil, Cheryl
Winner of the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

Enacting the Zen proverb “fall down seven times, get up eight,” this collection explores the ways we fall—through disillusionment, disappointment, and plain, old-fashioned mistakes, and the ways we rise up—out of personal debacles, unfortunate circumstances, family legacies, and collective struggles.

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Cheryl Dumesnil’s books include the 2008 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize winner, In Praise of Falling, the memoir Love Song for Baby X: How I Stayed (Almost) Sane on the Rocky Road to Parenthood, and the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos, co-edited with Kim Addonizio.
“The focus in Cheryl Dumesnil’s poetry is on contemporary subjects in contemporary language—always with fresh understandings and surprising angles and, like all good poetry, with the ‘best words in the best order.’”—Ed Ochester

“In poems that ‘keep us alive by recording / all our details right,’ Cheryl Dumesnil passionately and at times irreverently approaches the consequences of desire, knowing that ‘sometimes / looking closer lets us love something / more.’ Confucius and Karen Carpenter may ghost through these poems, but autistic children and the selfless community of women spark ‘the unspoken wondering / if any one of us is safe.’ The poems remain celebratory, though, because their eloquent yet unassuming gestures 'raise us / up from the depths, silver, glimmering.’ In Praise of Falling is a debut of extraordinary transparency and generosity.”—Michael Waters

“In Praise of Falling is, indeed, a book of praise, one that celebrates the world's gifts with an awareness of its dangers. In the title poem, Dumesnil finds beauty even in ‘that inedible nut, the green globe turning.’ Falling, yes, but still aloft—that's where the poet captures these keenly observed narratives.”—Kim Addonizio

“A beautiful, linguistic celebration of the surprises that come from seeming failures.” —BOMBlog

“Poems that calm and inspire . . . Introspection tempered by humility and gratitude, key qualities of Zen, character ‘In Praise of Falling.’ This book is well worth reading for its quiet pleasures.”—The Potomac

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

The poems in this collection are the proverbial spring bulbs abandoned in the basement, growing toward a slim crack of sunlight. They are both aware of the limitations of social structures and forcefully committed to breaking out of those traps, urging toward a better way of living. The characters in these poems resist the twenty-first century’s prescription for a life of emotional-spiritual bankruptcy, reaching toward an ever-elusive glimmer on the horizon.


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