Quan Barry
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 88
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Winner of the 2000 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize2002 finalist in poetry, Society of Midland AuthorsQuan Barry's stunning debut collection has been compared to Sylvia Plath'sArielfor the startling complexity of craft and the original sophisticated vision behind it. In these poems beauty is just as likely to be discovered on a radioactive atoll as in the existential questions raised byThe Matrix.Asylumis a work concerned with giving voice to the displaced-both real and fictional. In "some refrains Sam would have played had he been asked" the piano player fromCasablancais fleshed out in ways the film didn't allow. Steven Seagal, Yukio Mishima, Tituba of the Salem Witch Trials, and eighteenth-century black poet Phillis Wheatley also populate these poems.Barry engages with the world-the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, the legacy of the Vietnam war-but also tackles the broad meditative question of the individual's existence in relation to a higher truth, whether examining rituals or questioning, "Where is it written that we should want to be saved?" Ultimately,Asylumfinds a haven by not looking away.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7931-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[xii])
  3. asylum
    (pp. 1-1)
  4. child of the enemy
    (pp. 2-13)
  5. The Glimmer Man
    (pp. 14-14)
  6. If dy/dx=4x3 + x2 - 12/ 2x 2 - 9, then
    (pp. 15-15)
  7. intercellular aubade
    (pp. 16-16)
  8. intermurals
    (pp. 17-17)
  9. Job 42:4
    (pp. 18-19)
  10. kabuki
    (pp. 20-20)

    Why his father taught him to bite the corners of handkerchiefs, pout as they had done for the last half millennium, his father’s father and others passing it to their sons—onnagata, woman-like—each generation perfecting it, switching from lead-based paints that left them dumb to shellacking their eyes with vermilion, ash superior for eyebrows, how a second honorific set should sit just below the hairline, be applied by thumb as he was more woman than a woman could be whose neck would snap like asakurabranch under the sheen of a thirty pound wig, the cherry blossoms strewn...

  11. Kaiserschmarn
    (pp. 21-22)
  12. lullaby
    (pp. 23-23)

    Dear Sir:

    I know what your body holds for me—shame, oil and shame. When you first touched me it was like the morning of my seventh birthday when, in helping Grandmother prepare the cake, I cracked open an egg laid by our best hen only to watch a shell’s worth of blood slip into the batter. That is to say I find your kisses dark and gelatinous. They ruin things. Do you know that on our daily walks while in your company I have never seen a bird? What powers you must possess to spirit away such beauty! I...

  13. lunar eclipse
    (pp. 24-25)
  14. maleficium
    (pp. 26-28)
  15. masochism
    (pp. 29-30)
  16. Meanwhile, Back in the Relative Safety of a Ticker Tape Parade, Buzz Aldrin has a Moment of Epiphany …
    (pp. 31-31)

    Yes, the moon is made of gunpowder because that’s how it smells—the whole Sea of Tranquility’s a CIA sham: it’s really a loaded keg, miles of galactic hotbeds waiting to blow those pinko commies off their asses should they ever land one of these days & POW! right in the kisser & then where will Comrade Khrushchev go? I keep the moondust stored in a cool dry place in the third lobe of my right lung because Neil keeps it there too, I can tell from his hot bronchial breath that he’s hoping to corner the market on this organic gunpowder...

  17. night soil man
    (pp. 32-33)
  18. oracle
    (pp. 34-34)
  19. plague
    (pp. 35-40)
  20. post-partum
    (pp. 41-42)
  21. reading
    (pp. 43-43)
  22. Snow White
    (pp. 44-44)
  23. some refrains Sam would have played had he been asked
    (pp. 45-45)
  24. studio audience
    (pp. 46-47)
  25. synopsis
    (pp. 48-49)
  26. tradition
    (pp. 50-51)
  27. triage
    (pp. 52-54)
  28. “’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land”
    (pp. 55-55)
  29. vigil
    (pp. 56-57)
  30. visitor
    (pp. 58-59)
  31. Whitsunday
    (pp. 60-60)
  32. Whitsunday
    (pp. 61-61)
  33. Whitsunday
    (pp. 62-62)
  34. Whitsunday
    (pp. 63-63)
  35. woman in love/Agatha, doubting
    (pp. 64-64)
  36. zeitgeist
    (pp. 65-66)
    (pp. 67-74)
  38. acknowledgments
    (pp. 75-75)