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Lives of the Sleepers by Ned Balbo
Published Work: 
Perri Giovannucci
Italian Americana

Like the dreams, allegories, and legends he explores, Ned Balbo's second book of poetry reveals a compelling, elliptical interior logic. His erudite collection draws upon medieval literature, hagiography, and classical myth as easily as it does late news reports about the mutation of frogs in local ponds or the group suicide of a California cult. Balbo finds the literary and the legendary in current events and vice versa. In tight, seamless verse he does not so much trace epic themes upon contemporary subjects, but rather culls the impulse or gesture which similarly invests them both. His ability to draw a common thread through such diverse subjects and phenomena makes his poetry at once intelligent and startling.