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Drunk in Sunlight

, 88 pages
November 2006



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Drunk in Sunlight

Accessible and wry, at times comic, and often mournful, Daniel Anderson's poetry is relentlessly attentive to the splendors of the natural world. But the poems collected here—previously published in such leading literary journals as Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, New England Review, and Southwest Review—are not relegated simply to the realm of pastoral meditation. They give voice to the sorrowful and sometimes unfortunate things we say and think. They chronicle, with both precision and care, the many ways in which jubilation and lament frequently reverse themselves. Above all else, each poem crystallizes in its wake a freshly minted moment, one that articulates an experience that reaches beyond the poet's own time and place.

Sunflowers drenched in early evening sun; icy blue, explosive waves along the rocky shores of Maine; September cotton "like strange anachronistic snow" in Tennessee—Anderson forges these images into deep ruminations on love, shame, delight, loss, and estrangement.

Daniel Anderson has taught at Kenyon College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. His first collection of poems, January Rain, was awarded the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize.

"The witty playfulness, formal grace and elegant plain style are the qualities that one first notices in Daniel Anderson's fine new collection, Drunk in Sunlight; but as one continues reading and rereading these marvelous poems, one comes to admire most the way that wit and elegance are put in service to such a deep, tender and sometimes troubled apprehension of time, mortality, and the changing textures of the natural world. In Anderson's capable hands, form becomes a metaphor for the mind's rage for holding change at bay, and it always stands in expressive and complicated tension with the evanescent energies of life, energies which require form for their expression, but which at the same time ultimately ironize the forms they both require and elude."

"Daniel Anderson’s sensibility is a nostalgic one, but without sentimentality or morbidity. This is a poet who embraces life, loves it too much not to mourn a moment’s passing. His imagery is quite literally colorful—it shines with 'that bullion luster of the sun,' and even delights in 'that shade/ mulberrying the roadside.' Splendid, affecting lyrics (such as 'Elegy for the Dying Dog,' in which the animal comes when he is called—by Death itself) are flanked by longer, reflective narratives written with an uncommon formal grace. Anderson is a poet to read and re-read with pleasure and growing wisdom."

"In this doom-haunted book image and expression come at us with a Keatsian richness, even as they record the bearable sorrows of our lives. Anderson's fallen world is unique, for the garden remains in lush full bloom and its flawed inhabitants have not been cast out. Sad, beautiful, true, and often satirical, these poems make a grandeur of irony."

"His poems are lusciously detailed and his voice is fully developed."

"The title of Daniel Anderson’s second book Drunk In Sunlight suggests an altered state of consciousness. But Drunk On Sunlight could also serve as the book’s title, since so many of the poems here reflect a kind of rapture provoked by the wonders of being: 'How excellent it is to be alive,' as the speaker of 'Aubade' puts it."

"Milieu, narrator, and the dreads and yearnings concealed in both, compose much of the book's interest. But there's another important feature of these poems, and that is Anderson's skill with versification."

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