but not yet

By , April 28, 2017
Book cover of but not yet by Ralph Burns

Cover of but not yet


Ralph Burns

$16.95 paperback (9780899241548)
hardcover not available
Published: August 2017
78 pages, 6 x 8.5 in.
Purchase from our distributor

Winner of the 2016 Blue Lynx Prize

What is the emotional distance between what we treasure and what we discard? When we lose things, is it the thing lost we mourn, or is it loss itself? Ralph Burns’ sinuous and inventive poems ask these questions and answer them with a hardened wisdom and humor difficult to find in American poetry today. He writes as though he and the reader have known each other for a long time, so that all kinds of courtly explanation may be dispensed with. The book is a pure refreshment.

Ralph Burns, for fifteen years editor of the noted poetry journal, Crazyhorse, has published six previous collections. His awards include The Great Lakes Poetry Award, the Mountains of Minnesota Prize, the Iowa Poetry Prize, the FIELD Poetry Prize and two National Endowment Fellowships. After teaching for many years at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, he now resides in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

Ralph Burns has a steady hand and a sharp eye and ear, which are essential for the way his poems can careen through unexpected territories and neighborhoods, turning corners, often, on two wheels. You learn to trust him and to revel in the skill with which he steers you through each poem, always finding the right word, and making, again and again, just the right move.

-David Young

Such earthly gifts touch this book-the poet Virgil, turtles and snakes, speeding tickets for outrunning funerals, cypress trees, visits to hell with a ‘father in his Hawaiian shirt.’ So Ralph Burns meditates and dreams and works through pleasure and grief right now and past snow globes and marriage and oilfields, childhood kitchens “lit against chaos,” the “square root” of the aged who gather in a nursing home to watch Wheel of Fortune. But the fortune is ours, these poems which never presume or falsify, this book we open to find those like us who “crawled/ over stars and water in search of heaven/, a safety pin, a riser, a river, a wave.”

-Marianne Boruch

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