Thursday, January 10, 2008

Kevin Prufer - National Anthem

Kevin Prufer, National Anthem (Four Way Books, 2008)

Here it is! Beautiful, isn’t it?

Copies are just starting to circulate . . . you can get yours at AWP in NYC in just a couple weeks . . . and Kevin will be there, signing copies at Tables 42 & 43, on Friday, February 1st, from 4:00 – 5:00. As well, he’ll be reading from it, at this event:

Four Way Books 15th Anniversary Reading

Saturday 1:30-2:45
(Regent Parlor Hilton, 2nd Floor)

Laurel Blossom
Jeffrey Harrison
April Ossmann
Kevin Prufer
Daniel Tobin
C. Dale Young

Mark your calendars . . .

To hold you over, here’s a poem from National Anthem:

Army Tales

The boy who drowned in the bog, the boy caught in the rotors, the boy who laughed too loud—

The boy who swallowed the bee that stung the throat—

The ripcord worked, but the parachute fluttered weakly above and would not bloom—

He put his foot down in the foreign grass and heard a click, as of metal on metal. When he lifted that foot—

Sometimes it is a cold day and the clouds rain toxin over the boys on the base—

Sometimes, they don’t know they’re being watched, leaning against their packs, asleep like that—

One more, one more, he said. One more all around— And the assembled clapped for him, they clapped, he put his money down and smiled because they loved him—

Sometimes a boy thinks he is unloved, so he retires to a dark tent where he will not be disturbed—

Then, the cells wink out like lights on a tall office building in a strange city at dusk—

His friends said it was a sad day, it was very sad. They thought he’d been kidding, they told him not to laugh like that—

You pull the string and out it blooms—

And what was he doing off the base late at night? What was he doing on the open water, in the plane, driving so fast down unfamiliar roads? His mother—

Someone would tell her. Someone would write her a letter, thank God. There’s a template for that—

A guy who puts your name on the hard drive, a distant office, a simple program and printer—

You punch in the name and out it comes.


At 1/11/2008 8:51 AM, Anonymous Troy Jollimore said...

That's a great poem. Kevin rocks! Man, I wish I were going to the AWP.

At 1/12/2008 6:08 PM, Blogger Steven D. Schroeder said...

Yeah, that's a damn fine poem. Thanks for posting it.

At 1/14/2008 6:37 PM, Blogger Matthew Thorburn said...

Sweet poem. And what a book cover. Thanks John. I'm starting my AWP shopping list right now.

At 1/17/2008 11:41 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

AWP shopping lists . . . with 7,000 people there, I imagine some things are going to be hard to come by.

7,000+ people. I'm not sure what to make of that. I remember back when AWP was around 2,000. It wasn't that long ago . . .


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