Exactly What Happened (Paperback)Joel Brouwer (author)
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This first collection of poems unveils the magician's trick: an illusion only works if we believe that what we've just seen is exactly what happened. With a hairsplitting sense of detail and spellbinding language, Joel Brouwer's poems consider characters and events both real and imagined, seeking to expose the deceptions we live with daily. Belief is at stake in every poem. A boy discovers his mail-order magic kit is fake. Astronomers find water in a distant galaxy and wonder if life might exist there. A photojournalist manipulates his pictures to maximize their drama. Harry Houdini explains that his illusions came not from magic but labor, from "these fingers, cut callused stalks." In these and many other poems, Exactly What Happened reflects on the incidents and accidents that make up the enchanting, painful, and quirky world in which we live in. Written with the scrutiny of a reporter and a conjurer's sympathy for mystery, Brouwer's poems help us find the dignity in belief's deceit.
Publisher: Purdue University Press
Number of pages: 96
Weight: 168 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 8 mm
"In an economy bouyed on the stock margins of companies . . . poet Joel Brouwer's new book captures the spirit of this gilded age. There's a magic here, the kind that hard work reveals."
"There are no trick mirrors here. No hocus pocus. Brouwer's poems are beautifully exact. They are verbal sleights of hand that cause the mind to blink."
--S. K. Carew
"Exactly What Happened is both canny and innocent, hopeful one minute and bleak the next, and always mordantly funny. These poems are infused with tremendous intelligence and wit, yet they are spoken in the voice of the guy on the corner, without any poetic curlicues. The book's theme - what is truth and how will we know it when we see it? - is heartbreakingly apt for our times. For evidence, the author zaps us with those strange corners of our culture where the line between truth and fiction is especially fuzzy. From Laika the Space-dog to Krushchev's shoe, the subjects of these poems will make you think that you can feel the poet's hand tipping your head so that the world came into focus at an angle slightly different from the way that you are used to seeing it."
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