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Joseph Millar

Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary Series: Poetry

Carnegie Mellon
2013 • 72 pp. 5 1/2 x 9 1/4"

$16.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-574-9

A reissuing of Overtime, the debut collection of poetry by Joseph Millar

Overtime, Joseph Millar’s first book of poetry, both traditionally elegiac and formally unexpected—aims at the overlap between art and the everyday grind of work and single fatherhood. Here we find poems of loss and grief, alongside poems of working-class celebration that hum with the sound of wind in the ladder racks and miles of telephone wire. Overtime is a book of poetry whose chief concern is not art for its own sake but rather the artistic visions the everyday struggles of life provide when paid the right attention. A poet deeply sunk into William Carlos Williams’ American Grain, Millar grounds his poems in the details and small mysteries of everyday life and labor. Whether the speaker is murmuring a song to the beloved in poems like “Love Pirates” or “Listener,” imagining the travails of a Native American war chief in “Sitting Bull in Canada,” or considering his own inevitable death in “Heart Attack,” Millar tells a story plainly, moving from lyric to narrative and back again in language charged with duende and force. As Yusef Komunyakaa has written, “Millar is a poet we can believe.”

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“No intellectual wink mars the poems, no one is pilloried, nothing manufactured. The forgiveness in this voice makes us feel brave.”—Barry Lopez

“Take a sensibility of remarkable delicacy and precision, immerse it in the abrasive, often violent, atmosphere of 20th century blue-collar America, and what you get is a chronicle of drink, debt, and divorce. Joseph Millar’s Overtime includes some of the best poems about work since Phillip Levine’s. This is a first book of unusual maturity and promise.”—Madeline DeFrees

Millar can ride a poem into some wildly imaginative territory, and he knows how to sound the blue note at just the right moment. His impulse is to tell a story, and he never forgets, as a poet, to tell it one line at a time.—Billy Collins

From the Book:

The lips of the homeless man by the bridge
unfasten from the jar, now drained of its wine,
as he waits for the rivers of sleep to carry him down.
And the hitch hiker standing alone west of town
watches the tall wheat bend on the wind,
remembering the blanket covered with stars
she wrapped him in at bedtime.

JOSEPH MILLAR has won a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA Program

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:20:37 -0500