In D. A. Powell’s fifth book of poetry, Useless Landscape, the rollicking line he has made his signature becomes the taut, more discursive means to describing beauty, singing a dirge, directing an ironic smile, or questioning who in any given setting is the instructor and who is the pupil. This is a book that explores the darker side of divisions and developments, which shows how the interstitial spaces of boonies, backstage, bathhouse, or bar are locations of desire. With Powell’s witty banter, emotional resolve, and powerful lyricism, this collection demonstrates his exhilarating range.
“With his typical wry eroticism, an eagle eye for the places where men converge, and a compass that points always to desire, poet D. A. Powell leads us on a tour through a Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys, from gay bars to bathhouses and into the backwoods.” -- Vanity Fair, “Hot Type”
“Powell has a perfect ear. . . . [His] great subject is passion, in all its stages and manifestations: passion sought, spent, relived in the mind, played out in language.” -- Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker
“In this, his fifth and most elegant and accessible book, [Powell] watches himself aging, his disease making off with his body, his energy and his hope—but not his humor: ‘You face your wrinkles, daily, in the mirror. / But the wrinkles are so slimming, they rather flatter.’ He entreats us, by book’s end, to ‘triumph over death with me.’ It’s an invitation—and a poet—you won’t be able to resist.” -- National Public Radio, “Not Your Parents’ Poems: A 2012 Poetry Preview”
D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His honors include the Gold Medal in Poetry from the California Commonwealth Club, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an associate professor at USF.
To read Curled in the Bed of Love is to feel the incessant tug between devotion and desire that can unmake even the closest couple. Catherine Brady’s characters are as resolute in evading middle-class conformity as they are in clinging to their illusions about love. They share the dream of love as a pure space cleared of hesitations, doubts, and regrets, even as desire forces them to encounter what they can’t change about themselves -- and what they haven’t yet discovered. All of Brady’s stories are gritty and unflinching in their gaze, yet lyrical and rich in the imagery of stasis and change.
Catherine Brady is the author of three short story collections, one the winner of the 2002 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and another the winner of the 2010 Northern California Book Award for Fiction. Her stories have appeared in numerous literary journals and Best American Short Stories. She’s also the author of a book on writing craft, Story Logic and the Craft of Fiction, and a biography of a Nobel laureate, Elizabeth Blackburn and the Story of Telomeres: Deciphering the Ends of DNA. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco and is currently at work on a novel.