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The Little Book of Guesses
John Gallaher

Four Way
2007 • 64 pp. 6 x 9"

$14.95 Paperback, 978-1-884800-77-1

The Little Book of Guesses takes place in a 21st-century world where we’ve “accustomed ourselves to our customized dogs” and “honed the idea of ideas there in the obstacle race / that’ll never catch up.” But while it’s a world we’re not unfamiliar with—“in the New Age tourism is the answer”—Gallaher’s turn of speech is at once unique and exact, making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Serving as our escort through scenes including “The War President’s Afternoon Tea” and “A Moment in the Market of Moments,” Gallaher offers us several guidebooks: “to the Afterlife,” “to When Things Were Better,” and a “Pocket Guide to Some Foreign Country.” Even as these poems guess, they are confident in the form and lyricism. Abundant with comedy, they contain more than a dose of irony and cynicism, and still find room for the quiet anger of frustration, of knowing that what seems most surreal about this world often turns out to be reality itself.

Reviews / Endorsements

“In these poems of houses and yards and little roads, things are quietly disintegrating. And the men and women are always rushing toward a future, where the sky is gray and voices are going too fast to understand, but, if you look for it, a redbud is shimmering on the lawn.”—Henri Cole, Levi Poetry Prize Judge


Winner of the Four Way Books Levis Poetry Prize, selected by Henri Cole

JOHN GALLAHER is the author of Gentlemen in Turbans, Ladies in Cauls and co-editor of The Laurel Review. His poetry has recently been published in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Field, jubilat, The Journal, and Ploughshares. He holds graduate degrees from Texas State University and Ohio University and lives in rural Missouri.

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:05:17 -0500