[UCP Books]: Contradance
“John Peck is unique among contemporary American poets for the burnished, intricate density of his thought and the rugged, even gnarled lyricism of his lines. The ghosts of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Avedon, Rainer Maria Rilke, Herman Melville, and a host of others stalk gravely through the steps of Peck’s Contradance, their spectral presences a ghostly counterpoint to the poet’s preternatural awareness of the buzzy, blooming confusion of the present moment: ‘Life is not a thing / that we have, it is being seeking employment.’”
—Mark Scroggins, Florida Atlantic University
|Publication Date: October 31, 2011||$18.00 • £11.50|
|International publication date: November 14, 2011||978-0-226-65292-4 (cloth)|
In a country where much of the most prominent poetry seeks to affirm the present and its fleeting values, John Peck’s poetry comes as an important, if unlikely, gift. It deals the cards of the fragmentary, ideogrammic, juxtaposed, and elliptical through the deck of normally discursive syntax. In the words of novelist Joseph McElroy, Peck’s work is “a way of seeing things,” confident “in the packed vividness of the referential.” Its viewpoint is neither identity- nor group-specific, but moves through the larger human landscape alive to connections with our shared past and with one another. In Contradance, his ninth collection, Peck’s particular way of seeing things has never been stronger or more beautifully embodied.