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That Was Oasis
Michael McFee

Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series

Carnegie Mellon
2012 • 88 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Poetry / Poetry - American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-548-0

“For all their delicate wit and whimsy, these are poems with weight and heft to them, many of them sad and profound, others intensely lyrical... [continued in Reviews below]”—Evan Gurney, The Carolina Quarterly

A collection of poetry by Michael McFee.

For over three decades, Michael McFee has been, in the words of one critic, "putting together a body of work that few poets anywhere, of any age, can match for its poise, its wit and metaphorical power, its accessibility and depth of feeling." That Was Oasis, McFee's eighth full-length book of poetry, is a collection of spirited and diverse elegies. Its poems pay inventive attention to the overlooked or underappreciated, to such subjects as saltines, holding hands, killing a copperhead with a hoe, the word "bunk," bald spots, the young Thelonious Monk, and a minor-league baseball park in Asheville, North Carolina—all of which, seen in the right light, can become unexpected oases in the quotidian.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“. . . For all their delicate wit and whimsy, these are poems with weight and heft to them, many of them sad and profound, others intensely lyrical, and all of them artful in their attention to the craft of verse. If McFee has a knack for some goofy phrases, they work so well because he folds them into otherwise tight and refined verse. That is, he takes his poetry, but not himself, seriously. This gives his writing a quiet confidence. Neither savage nor slight, McFee’s comic impulse doesn’t leave any victims in its wake. Instead he takes aim at the inevitable griefs of life, his deft touch with irony capturing the fullness of human experience. Much of this counterpoint is achieved by a (sometimes irreverent) spiritual vocabulary that infuses the work with a sense of the sacred. Tinged with melancholy, and haunted by a familiar specter of mortality, That Was Oasis possesses an urbane humor that is knowing but not analytical, wise without condescension, born of a deep love and understanding of people, their quirks and psychoses—even, or especially, the poet’s own.”—Evan Gurney, The Carolina Quarterly

"Reading Michael McFee's poetry, I've often marveled at its extraordinary poise, and That Was Oasis gives me cause to marvel anew. First, there's the balance of language and poetic structure: the book is so sure of cadence and diction, so crafted line by line, you'd cheat yourself by not reading it aloud. There's also the balance of feeling, a willingness to address hard experiences without denying their pathos or succumbing to sentimentality. Repeatedly, in work such as 'Poultice,' 'Bunk,' 'Holding Hands,' 'Unbuttonings,' and the magnificent sequence 'McCormick Field,' McFee finds the rhyme between sanity and humanity. And too, there's the balance with which he rotates everyday things through his transforming imagination—making new for us a 'Handful of Keys,' the dust from 'Erasures,' the letter 'Q,' even the flashing ':' on a clock. In this bewildering age of unreason, how lucky we are that he's writing these poems!"—Robert West

MICHAEL MCFEE was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and has taught for several decades in the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. His nine previous collections of poetry include Shinemaster (2006), Earthly (2001), and Colander (1996), all published by Carnegie Mellon. He is also the author of a prose book, The Napkin Manuscripts: Selected Essays and an Interview (2006), and the editor of several anthologies of North Carolina literature.

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:24:45 -0500