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Trembling Air

Michelle Boisseau

…things poised on the brink of revelation

Part of the University of Arkansas Press Poetry Series

Read Dog's Ars Poetica
In these poems, Michelle Boisseau troubles sound into music and light into color. She renders the physics of absence and the deceptions of presence: a garage full of haunted tools, the ordinary and odd lives embodied in medieval paintings, the voice of a father traveling on radio waves. The poems’ contemplative, rigorous intelligence affirms pleasure in the fallen world, picking out the golden thread in a dark tapestry. Moving through us in waves of light and sound, the words and trappings of the material world brim here with spiritual force and resonate with the power of things poised on the brink of revelation: trembling the air.

“A troubling music, a poignant mortality—Michelle Boisseau comes into full maturity in Trembling Air, her learned and heartbreaking third book of poems.”

—Edward Hirsch

5 ½" X 8 ½"
70 pages
$16.95, paper
978-1-55728-752-6 | 1-55728-752-X

Michelle Boisseau is also the author of Understory (Northeastern, 1996), winner of the Samuel French Morse Prize; No Private Life (Vanderbilt, 1990); and, with the late Robert Wallace, Writing Poems (Longman, 2003). She has won many awards, including an NEA fellowship. She teaches poetry and poetics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Dog's Ars Poetica

Though its whiskers take the air's temperature, and its gritty tongue tastes
     the marrow of pleasure,
though it's rightly proud of its skill in the stalk, how camouflaged as a
     collapsed staircase, it catapults at a twitching wing,
though all grace and cunning,
a cat is no good at poetry.
It spits at water and brings you only a dumb tangle of tendon.

No, it requires me. Slobbery and faithful,
strictly disciplined yet eager and modest,
I can enter a lake without a wrinkle
and what I bring back, secure in my black mouth,
is unbloodied—alive and terrified.  


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