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The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands

Author 1
Nick Flynn
electrocution, no—the boy stood in the hot-hot room
stammering I did stammering I did stammering I
did stammering I did stammering everything you say I did
I did.

—from “Fire”

The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands is Nick Flynn’s first new poetry collection in nearly a decade. What begins as a meditation on love and the body soon breaks down into a collage of voices culled from media reports, childhood memories, testimonies from Abu Ghraib detainees, passages from documentary films, overheard conversations, and scraps of poems and song, only to reassemble with a gathering sonic force. It’s as if all the noise that fills our days were a storm, yet at the center is a quiet place, but to get there you must first pass through the storm, with eyes wide open, singing. Each poem becomes a hallucinatory, shifting experience, through jump cut, lyric persuasion, and deadpan utterance. This is an emotional, resilient response to some of the essential issues of our day by one of America’s riskiest and most innovative writers.

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New poetry by the acclaimed writer Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and The Ticking Is the Bomb

About the Author

Nick  Flynn
Credit: Ryan McGinley
Nick Flynn is the author of four poetry books, including I Will Destroy YouMy Feelings, and Some Ether, which won the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and three memoirs, including Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. He teaches at the University of Houston and lives in New York.
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  • “I’ve never read a book of poetry that functions so well as a collection. . . . The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands is the most skilled and poignant collection of war poetry I have ever read.”NewPages
  • “A pastiche of lyric-fragments partially culled from literary, government, and mass media sources, Flynn’s The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands investigates forces of inhumanity both individual and large-scale.”Chronogram Magazine
  • “This is not—and should not be—a pleasant read. Flynn’s poems unnerve and devastate; theirs is a terrible beauty, indeed.”—The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)
  • “[Flynn’s] new poems are sobered by fatherhood and a grim decade, but also freer than ever in how they range across the page and the imagination.”—Publishers Weekly
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