Interrogation Palace is a career-spanning selection of work from an important American poet, drawing upon each of David Wojahn’s six previous collections and a substantial gathering of new work. Moving fluently from personal history to public history, and from high culture to popular culture, Wojahn’s searching and restless poetry has been considerably acclaimed, both for the candor of its testimony and the authority of its formal invention. He is above all an elegiac poet, tender and ferocious by turns, whether mourning the loss of family and loved ones or the hopes and aspirations of the baby-boomer era. <I>Interrogation Palace</I> confirms David Wojahn’s status as one of the most inventive, passionate, and ambitious figures of his generation.
Superb. Powerful, panoramic. In 'Interrogation Palace' Wojahn picked the perfect title: these are poems of both largesse and terror. . . . He writes with as much formal and emotional strength as any poet alive.
Wojahn's poems . . . integrate confessional and academic modes with honesty and skill.
Interrogation Palace shows that David Wojahn has been faithful to his vision. Never afraid of the arcane and experimental, he somehow keeps both feet in this world and propels us through an inner sanctum of angels and rock music, soothsayers and popular history, and philosophers and postmodern mystery. At the heart of Wojahn's poetry is the raw data of pain and joy. This wonderful poet knows how to conjure laughter through a witty, earthy language.
This is a book of journeys into the night-towns and underworlds of personal failure and loss as well as public tragedy and travesty. Few poets display such formal dexterity and invention while so free of trifles as David Wojahn. In extraordinary and weighty collocations that plunge the heart, these poems refuse easy consolation; they wander among ruins and ghosts in ways we would not be wrong to call heroic.
The astonishing impact of Interrogation Palace marks off David Wojahn as a formal innovator, a poet that every poet of whatever generation needs to read, and needs to read now: as erudite as any of the Moderns, but much wilder in his range of reference, his deeply felt and wonderfully intelligent poems meld the political and personal in a way that is unparalleled by any living American poet.
After September 11th, one of the first living poets I thought of was David Wojahn: someone who could follow our tragedy to its grave depths, with dignity and unsparingness, and egolessness, and who would stay with it—and us—as long as need be. For life. His poetry is, as Norman Dubie has said, the poetry of conscience; and here, at the birth of our new century, we are grateful.
"[Wojahn] truly believes in the resiliency of life and that poetry can serve as a positive force. Over the years, critics have praised Wojahn for his range. He has proven himself to be adept at both formal and free verse. He is also at home writing about personal and public subject matter. He is a master of dissecting the public and private lives of the famous and of the common man, and this is fully on display in the truly wonderful collection 'Interrogation Palace.'
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.learn more