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Book Title

Modern Poetry

Subtitle
Poems
Author 1
Diane Seuss
Poem Excerpt

If you are like me, to learn of the gods you must
beg, borrow, or steal. Eavesdrop, as gossip
is sagacity, a word I learned from Emily
Dickinson. Don’t underestimate direct
experience. Ants know earth. Dragonflies
know air. A cobbled mind is not fatal.
You have to be willing to self-educate
at a moment’s notice, and to be caught
in your ignorance by people who will
use it against you. You will mispronounce
words in front of a crowd. It cannot be
avoided. But your poems, with all of their
deficiencies, products of lifelong observation
and asymmetric knowledge, will be your own.
 
—from “My Education”

Body
Diane Seuss’s signature voice—audacious in its honesty, virtuosic in its artistry, outsider in its attitude—has become one of the most original in contemporary poetry. Her latest collection takes its title, Modern Poetry, from the first textbook Seuss encountered as a child and the first poetry course she took in college, as an enrapt but ill-equipped student, one who felt poetry was beyond her reach. Many of the poems make use of the forms and terms of musical and poetic craft—ballad, fugue, aria, refrain, coda—and contend with the works of writers overrepresented in textbooks and anthologies and those too often underrepresented. Seuss provides a moving account of her picaresque years and their uncertainties, and in the process, she enters the realm between Modernism and Romanticism, between romance and objectivity, with Keats as ghost, lover, and interlocutor.

In poems of rangy curiosity, sharp humor, and illuminating self-scrutiny, Modern Poetry investigates our time’s deep isolation and divisiveness and asks: What can poetry be now? Do poems still have the capacity to mean? “It seems wrong / to curl now within the confines / of a poem,” Seuss writes. “You can’t hide / from what you made / inside what you made.” What she finds there, finally, is a surprising but unmistakable love.
 

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List Price
$26.00
ISBN
ISBN
978-1-64445-275-2
Format
Format
Hardcover
Publication Date
Publication Date
Subject
Subject
Pages
Pages
128
Trim Size
Trim Size
6 x 9
Keynote
An extraordinary new collection by Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

About the Author

Diane  Seuss
Credit: Gabrielle Montesanti
Diane Seuss is the author of six books of poetry, including Modern Poetryfrank: sonnets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Prize; Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She was a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2021 she received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Michigan.
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Upcoming Events

Diane Seuss - Modern Poetry (Virtual Event Book Launch)

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Left Bank Books presents Diane Seuss, one of the most original voices in contemporary poetry. Seuss is the author of five previous poetry collections, including frank: sonnets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Award! Help us celebrate the launch of Modern Poetry with a virtual event that you can join from the comfort of your own home. Register here.

Diane Seuss - Modern Poetry (Virtual Event Book Launch)

Date:
Location:

Left Bank Books presents Diane Seuss, one of the most original voices in contemporary poetry. Seuss is the author of five previous poetry collections, including frank: sonnets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Voelcker Award! Help us celebrate the launch of Modern Poetry with a virtual event that you can join from the comfort of your own home. Register here.

VIRTUAL: Diane Seuss reading from and in conversation about MODERN POETRY with Jane Huffman, presented by the Hudson Valley Writers Center

Date:
ET
Location:
Hudson Valley Writers' Center in Sleepy Hollow, NYview map
This virtual event is free and open to the public. Click here for more details.

VIRTUAL: Diane Seuss reading and in conversation with Jeff Shotts about MODERN POETRY, presented by The Flow Chart Foundation

Date:
ET
Location:
Flow Chart Foundation in Hudson, NYview map
This event is free and open to the public and will be broadcast on Zoom. Click here for more details and to register.

VIRTUAL: Diane Seuss reading and in conversation with Gail Wronsky about MODERN POETRY, presented by City Lights

Date:
PT
Location:
City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, CAview map
This event is free and open to the public and will be broadcast on Zoom. Click here for more details and to register. Copies of Modern Poetry are available for purchase from City Lights.

Praise

  • "These irreverent, pulsing, and defiant poems are full of dangerous good sense."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
  • "The latest from Seuss takes its title from her first poetry textbook and a course taken in college. Forms and terms from music and poetry—ballad, fugue, aria, refrain, coda—appear frequently."—Publishers Weekly
  • "If the capacious version of the sonnet that Seuss used in her previous collection, the award-winning frank, proved a gorgeous way to rein in—structure, organize, make into art—the enthrallingly candid rovings of her mind, her new book takes the canon itself as inspiration, or perhaps a copy of an old poetry anthology left in a puddle, adapting its forms to her special subject matter, the poet who somehow sprang from the mud of a non-literary or even anti-literary background."—David Woo, Literary Hub
  • “Modern Poetry is filled with such agility, as Seuss’s finely tuned lyricism counterpoints in stunning ways her almost bathetic directness.  At no point does this collection about poetry feel insular or solipsistic; rather, it leaps from the page with great urgency, in no small part because of the charm and affability of Seuss’s speaker. . . . She is someone to who one wants to listen.”—Preposition Magazine
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