Winnowed from a distinguished career, then distilled, then polished and winnowed again, the poems in You Are Here are Leon Stokesbury’s best from fifty years of published work.
The selections from his earlier volumes are as fully realized as one would expect from the winner of the AWP Poetry Competition and the Poets’ Prize. But it is in Stokesbury’s new work, collected under the heading “These Days,” that he reveals something completely different. From a carnival sideshow to Hitchcock’s Mount Rushmore, from John Keats’s backyard to the miseries of a failed crematorium operator, every turned page divulges a particular we didn’t see coming. You Are Here is like a sideshow of this modern world, even when we discover, amazed, our selves looking back at us.
“Why do we still only stand here?” Stokesbury asks in one of his earliest salvos. The poems in this collection give such varied answers that readers will have no idea what the next page holds, only that they will find themselves somewhere new.
“Leon Stokesbury is a poet of subtle but often startling insight, a voice speaking in familiar, conversational tones, friend to friend, then a perception as arresting as a shift of light in a forest wind. We are fortunate to have this selection of Stokesbury’s work written over decades and to enjoy his versatile style, humorous, satirical, and his piercing observations. You Are Here presents a perspective on where we have been and where we might be going.”
—Pattiann Rogers, author of Holy Heathen Rhapsody
“Leon Stokesbury writes with a pure and beautiful clarity, and that clarity is exacting. Whether he is elegiac or irate, magnanimous or biting, amused or exasperated, Stokesbury is always clear about what he thinks and what he feels. With his poems, you always know where he stands and where you stand. When he says You Are Here, as he does in the title of his new book, you truly are, and in his poetry’s good company, it’s a wonderful place to be.”
—Andrew Hudgins, author of After the Lost War and American Rendering: New and Selected Poems