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Carnival Life: Poems

By author: Lesley Dauer
Product Code: P528
ISBN: 9780881465716
Publisher: Mercer University Press
Availability: In stock
Price: $17.00

Each poem in this award-winning collection represents the life of a carnival performer or that of an outsider whose life is rife with carnival metaphor. For instance, “The Two-Headed Woman and the Two-Faced Man” is both literal and metaphorical. Naturally, she draws carnival audiences, and as an outsider and illusionist of sorts, he complicates her life. Through deft, incisive portraits, Lesley Dauer populates these pages with people and animals in whom we recognize our own strengths, quirks, and bewilderment. We meet among others: a human cannonball preoccupied with thoughts of his family’s welfare, a contortionist controlled by his emotions, and compassionate dancing bears concerned by the psychological limits of their audience. The poet’s stark clarity of imagery and minimalist style belie depths of emotional complexity. As William Matthews wrote of Dauer’s earlier work in this vein, “Her poems are both charming (I mean to invoke magic as well as manners by this word) and unsettling. They help us remember how to experience our odd lives fully.”
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