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Tomorrow's Living Room
5.5 x 8.5, 116 pages
Jason Whitmarsh earned his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington, where he was awarded a Klepser Fellowship and an Academy of American Poets Prize. His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Yale Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and Fence. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children. Tomorrow's Living Room is his first full-length collection.
May Swenson Poetry Award Winner 2009
Tomorrow's Living Room
With so many poets working the American idiom these days, it is a wonder to find one with an original voice, but Jason Whitmarsh has carved out a verbal territory for himself unlike anyone else's. It is the kind of voice that whistles for our attention.
Volume 13 in the Swenson Award Series, Tomorrow's Living Room offers a pleasantly disorienting verbal territory. The collection is alternately wry and dark, hopeful and bleak, full of unexpected light and laugh-out-loud incongruities. We begin to see that the shape and the furniture of Jason Whitmarsh's world reflect our own world (and may in fact be universal), but we're considering them through completely new terms of engagement.
Capitalism as Comeuppance
Alternate Tuesdays he tolls in the office
with the modest manners of the metered at work.
Why not withered? ---and worn from lunches
of saltlicks and sandbars in the sunlit cafe,
the breath a capstone of bright fatigue
and the elevator vanishing at five
a trick of the light. It's labeled unfit
and filed in the drawer by "fever-pitched,"
near the quartered starts of the quieted few,
even their torture not their own. The tic of the eye
becomes all the talk: how terrible, they say,
how terrible that we in the towers and visions
whistle no longer and still watch the clock.
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