Wyatt Prunty's poems have been described as "quiet, reflective, and of unexpected depth" (Howard Nemerov), "both artful and truthful" (Donald Justice), "a triumph of controlled and understated but powerful emotion" (Anthony Hecht), and "illuminated by a language both skewed and precise" (Walker Percy). As a poet, Prunty—who is also the founder and director of the Sewanee Writers' Conference—has been praised for "his powerful imagination in the specifics of ordinary details, suggesting persuasively that the near at hand is as unexplored and full of wonder as the far ends of the universe" (Publishers Weekly) and called "one of the most gifted and technically accomplished American poets of the post-World War II generation" (Southern Review).
An elegant overview of his career until now, Unarmed and DANGEROUS: New and Selected Poems features selections from Wyatt Prunty's five previous books—The Times Between (1982); What Women Know, What Men Believe (1986); Balance as Belief (1989); Run of the House (1993); and Since the Noon Mail Stopped (1997), all published by the Johns Hopkins University Press—as well as new poems that demonstrate the poet's wide-ranging and sympathetic imagination. Prunty's new work includes moving evocations of childhood ("A Child's Christmas in Georgia, 1953"), richly detailed poems about ordinary people and situations ("The Downtown Bus"), and even a probing meditation on the fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk" ("Annals of Jack"). Together, the poems gathered in this volume afford a clear portrait of a major American poet whose distinctive voice and vision have earned him the admiration and respect of such contemporaries as Richard Wilbur, X. J. Kennedy, and Mark Strand and marked him as "a writer who has mastered his craft, [a] poet [who] can look at the life most of us take for granted and show us what is most real, most precious in it" (The Commercial Appeal).
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