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Enthusiasm: Odes & Otium

If "America" is a nation of enthusiasts (for good or ill), the poems in this book can be thought of as their anthems. The adventurer, the speculator, the minister, the naturalist, the bandit, the mother--all have some purchase here. Starting from the notion of the ode as "a poem sung by a chorus," these poems campaign for a heroic "voice of history" spoken by individuals. The resulting tensions, between prose and poetic lines, between narrative and song, are revealed in the anxiety of genre: the ode turns into epic; the song turns into jeremiad; the master narrative is cut short by the hired hand going about her business. Throughout, regular people get to act in their own epic situations as global events lumber in the background.Born in New York, Jean Day grew up in Rhode Island and moved west in the 1970s to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has been active in the literary community ever since. She is the author of five previous books of poetry, most recently "The Literal World," and her work appears in many journals and anthologies, including "Best Poems of 2004," edited by David Lehman and Lyn Hejinian. She is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the California Arts Council, and the Fund for Poetry.
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Selections from her own work have also appeared in the anthologies In the American Tree (National Poetry Foundation, 1986), 49 + 1 (Royaumont, 1991), From the Other Side of This Century: A New American Poetry, 1960-1990 (Sun & Moon, 1993), and Moving Borders: Three Decades of Innovative Writing by Women (Talisman House, 1998).

About the Author

Born in 1954, Jean Day grew up in Rhode Island and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-1970s. Her first book, Linear C, was published by Tuumba Press in 1983, followed by Flat Birds (Gaz, 1985), A Young Recruit (Roof, 1988), The I and the You (Potes & Poets, 1992), and The Literal World (Atelos, 1998).

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