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Joseph Millar

Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series

Carnegie Mellon
2017 • 70 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-88748-621-0

New Poetry

Kingdom extends Joseph Millar’s articulate devotion to the astonishments of daily life—their mingled beauty and pain. As in his first three books, Millar, like the late Philip Levine, has a keen eye for the hardscrabble details of working-class lives—from California’s wheat fields to the Lehigh Valley to the rooftops of Paris and a host of other locales “down here on earth in the kingdom.” Perhaps more fully than any recent book, this one calls to mind Dylan Thomas’s assessment that the best poems “show us that we are alone and not alone in the unknown world, that our bliss and suffering are forever shared, and forever all our own.” Kingdom shows Millar working at the height of his powers, sifting the “rag and bone shop of the heart” for songs and stories. It’s his best book yet.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“If this is a kingdom then Joe Millar may be one of the kings. He’s lived enough to be both man and woman now, and he’s learned to sing so sweet a song it might be rising from the broken branches and the bones of the lost horses, or the desert stars, or the scars of the middleweight fighters who finally went home. These are grown-up poems, sorrowful, celebrative, brimming with love.”—Marie Howe

“Joseph Millar’s new book Kingdom is full of the best noises a poem can make. This is high praise and these are fine poems. With their rich diction and long sentences that descend across the thump of double stresses and enjambed lines, moving through a rich chain of descriptive clauses, the poems chart a life tinged by melancholy but free of complaint. These sentences are full of surprises, unexpected turns—sentences that look back on a life also full of surprises and unexpected turns. I keep returning to them for their lyrical beauty, their wisdom of the self and their charting of life’s long and often frustrating journey.”—Stephen Dobyns

From the Book:

Making Lunch

Because nothing I see this morning
brings us closer to spring,
snow falling out of the Jersey sky
into the cloudy river,
wet shoes facing toe-in,
uppers spotted with rock salt

and because each sound signifies winter—
wind in the wires and the far-off train
like the voice of a child
circling the planet
looking for a place to be born—

I spread out the mustard
like a gold map
over the slabs of rye
and lay down the sliced mozzarella
holding the tomatoes for last

because they are acid and red
and grow on a clustered vine
staked up in a cage
in another country
of sunlight and olives

where children run barefoot
chasing a rusty bicycle rim
and the grass clumps up
through cracks in the bricks
next to the stone bridge scaled
with gray lichen, and the warm earth
swollen with black truffle fungi,
smells of bay leaves and wine.

JOSEPH MILLAR is the author of three previous collections. His poems have won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. He teaches in Pacific University’s low-residency MFA programand divides his time between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Richmond, California.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:51:35 -0500