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Pure Products of America, Inc.

, 160 pages
August 2015



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Pure Products of America, Inc.

A Narrative Poem



This propulsive narrative poem tells the extended story of the popular born-again televangelist Ray Bob Elray—better known to all his fans as Big Bubba—his twin sons, Nick and Jesse, and his niece and adopted daughter, Donna.

The comic tragedy of Big Bubba’s family begins to unfold when he is interviewed by an old friend, country radio disc jockey Charlie Printwhistle. Bubba has come to Waco, Texas, to preach a revival, but soon reveals to Charlie much about his complicated relationship with his family, his ambitions for the ministry, his faith healing, and his most recent venture with Pure Products of America, Inc., which produces and endorses anything "pure," from Bibles to jelly preserves—for a "whopper" of a fee, of course.

Structured as a verse play of two acts composed of three scenes each, Pure Products of America, Inc., follows the unwinding of Bubba’s legacy as his heirs fall out and his already slippery relationship with religion is tested by genuine grief. Along the way, master poet John Bricuth treats readers to a sly, sarcastic—and sometimes deeply moving—look at storytelling, old-time religion, and the American way.

John Bricuth is the pen name of John T. Irwin, author of Let Me Just Say This About That and As Long As It’s Big. He is the Decker Professor in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.

"The outrageous John Bricuth has surpassed himself in this sublimely mad narrative poem about our ongoing America. There is no one quite like Bricuth. He tries to play all the notes at once and frequently succeeds. Wickedness, supernal wit, eloquence always just off the beat, and a fierce verve animate this unsettling leap into our deepening abyss. To read this poem is to imbibe a tonic for these darkening times."

"In his hugely enjoyable verse novel, John Bricuth recounts the rise and fall of Big Bubba. It's a captivating story, a real page-turner, poignant yet often hilarious, told in high-energy language by a master poet."

"In Pure Products of America, Inc., all the old calamities stand ready to repeat, with echoes ranging from Circe to the Prodigal, Eli's sons to Cain and Able to Jacob and Esau, plus there's a little incest added just for motive. Before and after the broad vowels and tired clichés of Bubba-the-Texas-evangelist (whose healing miracles are tricks of frenzy), there is the family struggle for paternal favor and birthright to the family business, Pure Products. On stage the commodification of faith works wonders, while backstage the money changers never stop counting. The book is a raucous unraveling of false pieties delivered with tent revival pace plus the broadcast riffs of Charlie Printwhistle's W-A-K-O."

"Readers of John Bricuth's earlier works ( Just Let Me Say This About That and As Long As It's Big) will know exactly what to expect from Pure Products of America, Inc.: the unexpected. A partial culmination of those earlier poems both technically and thematically, Pure Products is at once a dazzling investigation of language and meaning as well as a further exploration of Bricuthian themes— Faith versus Doubt, Sincerity versus The Big Con—all set in a familial context of love and betrayal."

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