In this ambitious collection, Kevin Stein enters the volatile intersection of private lives and larger public history. In poems variously formal and experimental, improvisational and narrative, wisely silly and playfully forlorn, Stein renders the human carnival flexed across the tattooed bulk of \u201chistory\u2019s bicep.\u201d Musical and refreshingly unaffected, Stein\u2019s poems yoke the domains of high and low art. His poems address subjects by turns surprising, edgy, and humorous. They offer musings on the Slinky and the atomic bomb, elegies for a miscarried pregnancy and the late physicist Edward Teller, reflections on night-shift factory work and President Eisenhower\u2019s golf caddy, and meditations on the politics of post-colonialism and a youthful antiwar streaking incident. Against this vivid backdrop parades a motley cast of American characters seeking wiry balance in a fragile world.
Kevin Stein is Poet Laureate of Illinois and Caterpillar Professor of English at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. His previous publications include American Ghost Roses, Chance Ransom, and several other poetry collections, as well as two books of literary criticism and the poetry anthology Illinois Voices.