longdivision360

Long Division

by Alan Michael Parker

$16.95

In his seventh poetry collection, Alan Michael Parker aims to surprise. Recombining lists, fables, and mathematical equations, Long Division is formally playful, wielding irony as a lever of political resistance.

Format: paperback

ISBN: 978-1-932195-42-2 Categories: ,

In his seventh poetry collection, Alan Michael Parker aims to surprise. Recombining lists, fables, and mathematical equations, Long Division is formally playful, wielding irony as a lever of political resistance. Here is a writer fascinated by comedy, by sadness, and by the unexpected ways that poetry makes both possible at once. When was the last time you laughed out loud reading poems? Parker’s new work is truly funny, exposing the impossibility of realism in a world where imagination is more trustworthy than experience.

“Alan Michael Parker possesses a mind completely unlike any poet at work in America today, finding in the clutter around us not just sources of sadness, wit, and playful irony—but also profound ambivalence about a world in which our past is not recoverable, in which the work of the mind upon the landscape is the true source of meaning, in which we all inhabit ‘the arc of Story graphed upon the axes of Love and Death.’ I have long considered Parker to be one of the most brilliant poets at work in America today. Long Division, his best book yet, confirms that.”—Kevin Prufer

“Alan Michael Parker, in style and in stance (‘Sadness remains my politics,’ he writes), demonstrates that wit and irony have much more to offer us than we’ve known. In one masterful poem after another composed with luminous attention to the poetic line, Parker conducts the long divisions toward reconciliation between contentment and the necessity of asking more from ourselves, each other, and the world. He assures us our redemption, but proves that it requires the cunning and exuberance only a poet of his talent can muster for the rest of us. I feel blessed by these poems in Long Division, the work of a poetic troubleshooter intent on spreading grace on everything before him.”—Khaled Mattawa

Additional Information

Weight.5 lbs
Dimensions6 x .5 x 9 in

from Poetry, Inc.

Copy and shred, we animals feed the machines
until the coffee cart comes by at 10
, the urn glowing like religion.

Is your password your birthday?
Copy and shred, we make history.

Whatever we imagine we imagine as money
: copy and shred, shred and copy.

Look out the window: beauty.
Now place one hand on the glass.
Now sell what you feel.
Too many words, too many words,
too many words, too many words[…]

amparker225In addition to his seven books of poems, Alan Michael Parker has published two novels and served as editor of the whimsical anthology, The Imaginary Poets (Tupelo, 2005). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Paris Review, The Best American Poetry 2011, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at Davidson College and in the Queens University low-residency M.F.A. program. He lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with the artist Felicia van Bork.

Awards

  • Fellowships to:
    • the Azores Walks Foundation
    • the Vermont Studio Center
    • the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts
    • the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities
  • 2007 Finalist for the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize
  • 2008 “Established Artist Grant” from the Arts & Sciences Council
  • The Monserrat Review’s “Best Books of Summer Reading, 2008” for Elephants & Butterflies (BOA, 2008)

“Alan Michael Parker possesses a mind completely unlike any poet at work in America today, finding in the clutter around us not just sources of sadness, wit, and playful irony—but also profound ambivalence about a world in which our past is not recoverable, in which the work of the mind upon the landscape is the true source of meaning, in which we all inhabit ‘the arc of Story graphed upon the axes of Love and Death.’ I have long considered Parker to be one of the most brilliant poets at work in America today. Long Division, his best book yet, confirms that.”—Kevin Prufer

“Alan Michael Parker, in style and in stance (‘Sadness remains my politics,’ he writes), demonstrates that wit and irony have much more to offer us than we’ve known. In one masterful poem after another composed with luminous attention to the poetic line, Parker conducts the long divisions toward reconciliation between contentment and the necessity of asking more from ourselves, each other, and the world. He assures us our redemption, but proves that it requires the cunning and exuberance only a poet of his talent can muster for the rest of us. I feel blessed by these poems in Long Division, the work of a poetic troubleshooter intent on spreading grace on everything before him.”—Khaled Mattawa

Long Division speaks in the voice of a conscious, careful mind that spells out—delicately and lyrically—the compromises and evasions of the reality principle. With its lawns, children, and third marriages, Long Division finds its humor in the dark wood and Christmas lights of middle-aged maturity.”— Benjamin Johnson, Pleiades

“While the language of Long Division is candid and conversational, the poems have a smoothly loping, considerate force. Parker is a master at coaxing the enormous from his misleadingly uncomplicated conceits. He “scouts” images (and concepts) for their poetic potential—and the way they bloom is proof to the reader of poetry’s inherent possibility everywhere.” —Joshua Kleinberg, Heavy Feather Review

“I get excited. Although I read and love long verse, dramatic verse, and prose poems, my expectation for the poem I’m about to read is that of the terse, lineated poem. Needless to say, the poem as list structure does not meet my expectation, but I mean that in the best way possible. My stagnant way of thinking about poetry is being challenged, and I like it.” —Christopher Prewitt, Rattle

“The title of Alan Michael Parker’s seventh collection leads me to a silly and bitter awareness of how long it has been since I performed division by hand. I can recall the symbols and know it’s really just a matter of reverse-engineering my multiplication tables. I’m a die-hard analog watch-wearer (so, you know…), but it’s been so many years that I feel clumsy and frustrated as I try to figure a simple math problem alongside my notes for this review. In this way, and by dint of the poems themselves, Long Division also engages the more abstract practice of figuring how many ways a life can be divided, how many ways the attention can bifurcate, how over time people and places and practices fade as new drags on preference take hold, remoras (Roombas?) that add to the clutter instead of cleaning up.” — Jacob A. Bennett, Phantom Limb

“Alan Michael Parker makes me a liar. I love things about Parker I fault in other poets. Parker’s voice is so singular and strong that I don’t question it, even when it relies on wit, and in return, Parker rewards me for following him when I least expect it.” — Joey Connelly, The Rumpus

“The take-out menus in the lobby are so sleepy,/ they are so sore, they have swum oceans,” begins one poem in Parker’s sixth collection, endowing voice and pathos to the familiar ephemera clogging our nation’s porches and foyers. This gesture of compassionate attention to the marginal, humble pieces of a common life—a bench in a hospital garden, a rusted-out car on blocks—runs through Parker’s book, which draws on a range of formal registers in the process. (Some repeated forms include letters, numbered lists—e.g., “Sixteen Ways Old People Terrify the Young”—and quasi-fables.) At stake is how to reconcile the love, pleasure, and retrospective cast of a middle-aged mind with the less-thoughtful era of mercantile zoomburbs in which we find ourselves (a “zoomburb”? A “suburb growing even faster than a boomburb,” we learn). Here are also reflections on anniversaries, Italian opera, domestic life and its errant desires, third marriages, and fatherhood. The book’s best poems balance skepticism about the rituals of aging with the speaker’s participation in them. “My New American Lawn” thumbs its nose at the signifiers of lawn maintenance and suburban life, yet the poem also finds a well of urgency in “the crunchy, crispy, breakable/ blades.”— Publishers Weekly