The Ruins of Nostalgia (Wesleyan Poetry) (Paperback)

The Ruins of Nostalgia (Wesleyan Poetry) By Donna Stonecipher Cover Image
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New work from one of the most compelling and transformative writers of the contemporary prose poem

What is it to feel nostalgia, to be skeptical of it yet cleave intently to the complex truths of feeling and thought? In a series of 64 gorgeous, ramifying, unsettling prose poems addressing late-twentieth- and twenty-first century experience and its discontents, The Ruins of Nostalgia offers a strikingly original exploration of the misunderstood phenomenon of nostalgia as both feeling-state and historical phenomenon. Each poem, also titled The Ruins of Nostalgia, is a kind of lyrical mini-essay, playful, passionate, analytic. Some poems take a location, memory, conceit, or object as their theme. Throughout the series, the poems recognize and celebrate the nostalgias they ironize, which are in turn celebrated and then ironized again. Written often in the fictional persona of the first-person plural, The Ruins of Nostalgia explores the rich territory where individual response meets a collective phenomenon.

sample poem]

The Ruins of Nostalgia 13
Where once there had been a low-end stationery store minded by an elderly beauty queen, there was now a store for high-end espresso machines minded by nobody. Where once there had been an illegal beer garden in a weedy lot, there was now a complex of luxury lofts with Parisian-style ivory fa ades. Where once there had been a bookstore and a bike shop and a bakery, there was now a wax museum for tourists. Where once there had been an empty lot there was now a building. Where once there had been an empty lot there was now a building. Where once there had been an empty lot there was now a building. Where once there had been an empty lot there was now a building. Where once there had been farms there were now subdivisions. Where once there had been subdivisions there were now sub-subdivisions. We lived in a sub-subdivision of a subdivision. We ourselves had become subdivided--where once we had merely been of two minds. * Where once there had been a river there was now a road. A vocal local group had started a movement to break up the road and "daylight" the river, which still flowed, in the dark, underneath the road. * Could we daylight the farms, the empty lots, the stationery store, the elderly beauty queen, the city we moved to? Was it still flowing somewhere, under the luxury lofts, deliquescing in the dark, inhabited by our luxury selves, not yet subdivided, because not yet whole? * Could we daylight the ruins of nostalgia?

About the Author

DONNA STONECIPHER (Berlin, Germany) is a poet and translator with an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is the author of six books of poetry including The Reservoir, The Cosmopolitan, Model City, and Transaction Histories, which the New York Times named a top ten collection of 2018.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780819500847
ISBN-10: 0819500844
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 80
Language: English
Series: Wesleyan Poetry