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The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel

, 80 pages
March 2014



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The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel

The poems in The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel navigate the evanescent boundaries between the public and the private self. Daniel Anderson’s settings are often social but never fail to turn inward, drowning out the chatter of conversation to quietly observe the truths that we simultaneously share and withhold from one another—even as we visit friends, celebrate a young couple’s union, or eavesdrop on the conversations of others. These twenty poems include meditations on teaching hungover undergraduates, wine tasting among snobs, and engaging the war on terror from the comfort of the suburbs. They are alternately driven by ornamental language that seeks to clarify and crystallize the beauties of our common world and the poet’s faith that fellowship ultimately trumps partisanship. Even as they weigh and measure the darkness of the heart and the sometimes rash and stingy movements of the mind, the poems refrain from pronouncing judgment on their characters. As much as they ponder, they also celebrate in exact, careful, and loving terms the haunting and bracing stimuli from which they originate.

Daniel Anderson teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Oregon and is a winner of the Pushcart Prize. He is author of January Rain and Drunk in Sunlight, published by Johns Hopkins, and editor of The Selected Poems of Howard Nemerov.

"Daniel Anderson's fine new poems are plain spoken, and yet their outwardness turns subtly inward as we read and endows each subject with depth and discovery."

"The finely rendered voice in these poems is one of wisdom and vulnerability, hard–earned resolve, and steadfast wonder. Anderson’s attention—a 'supple, taut, and silken net'—suspends between seemingly opposite and equally forceful gravities, one that belongs to 'a dull, protracted age / Of worry, ambiguity, and doubt,' and the other to a pure desire 'that certain days—this one— / may never end.' The result is transfiguring. Anderson is in firm possession of the rare ability to make 'our exhausted, ruthless world / seem limitless once more.' I am supremely grateful for The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel."

"The sensory realm of these poems is as slow and subtle as melting snow. The world is muffled and muted. What matters is how the mind goes into the observed world to illuminate it with thought, to stir its flagging passions, and even to bring it hope. This is a jolting and beautiful book, one I will go back to again and again."

"Like the night guard in the title poem of his new collection, Daniel Anderson takes us on memorial rounds with him, checking latches and looking into dark corners, sometimes surprised—often not—at what's to be found there."

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