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Ghost Notes
Ralph Burns

FIELD Poetry Series

Oberlin College Press
2001 • 76 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Poetry - American

$14.95 Paperback, 978-0-932440-88-4

In his deeply innovative and beautifully human Ghost Notes, Ralph Burns explores the vivid relation between American jazz and American poetry. His book embodies the movement of jazz in the long title poem he plays wide open, without a mute, as Red Allen advises. The result is inclusive and exhilarating, a structure that keeps on opening and opening. Winner of the 2000 FIELD Poetry Prize.

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From the Book:

Orphans Eating Sugar

You’d think they’d rot from inside out,
their grained fingers hoisting stolen
sweetness, ingestion of an institution —
you’d think they’d rot from inside out.
Their chairs squeak and knock on linoleum.
The older boys smoke on the screened
smoke porch, cold even in late spring,
yellow smoke scallops, circling rivers,
ascending white blossoms, narcissus narcosis.
They stare out at traffic like glass horses,
distrust all who have dominion, including themselves,
whose teeth rock free from their cradles,
who grind enamel down to know the bite, the ache,
to lie down in the hole they make.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:04:59 -0500