David Biespiel’s long poetic lines crackle with rhythmic energy and a jazzy, bittersweet richness of language. Rolling out across the page like darkly luminous highways, his innovative, nine-line "American sonnets" promise adventure, offering a variant on the sonnet form that is both lyric and dramatic and bringing his masterful formal inventiveness to free verse. "I’ve come to imagine the nine-line sonnet to be like one of those classic Thunderbirds," says Biespiel, "something distinctly American: wide, roomy, and with a robust engine."
The vastly varied voices within the poems are united by a wonderfully limber diction. Using with revelatory precision the vocabularies of history, science, art, sport, philosophy, religion, literature, government, and domestic life, Biespiel has crafted a hip, melodic, elastic language that travels the registers of expression: lush and coarse, gaudy and austere, pliant and rigidly tough. The civility of the poems is the form; the wildness is the bristling energy of the language.
Passionate, resilient, rich with wit and word play, these poems affirm David Biespiel’s increasing stature as a poet of remarkable accomplishment and promise.
Authors & Contributors
David Biespiel teaches English at Oregon State University and is Writer in Residence at The Attic in Portland, Oregon. His honors include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry and the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. He is the author of Shattering Air.
Pagan Hallucination Under a Blossoming Plum Tree French Kiss Poets Dear Justice Explication de Texte Faith Gentrification After the Wedding Drunks Shoulders Brawls Sangria Xerxes Prayer Starlings Exile Godhood Ferdinand Magellan Parties Spiritual Guy Brusque Ars Poetica Kazoo Civilization in the Next War Home Amichai 1924-2000 Hermes
Acknowledgments About the Poet
"[Wild Civility] demonstrates the poet's deft control of line and sentence..Poems such as 'Under a Blossoming Plum Tree' or 'Shoulders' are sparse, free verse lyrics concerned with exterior landscape and quiet observation—smart counterpoints to Biespiel's reinvented sonnets. They allow the reader a moment to breathe, reflect, and appreciate the dynamic personality of Wild Cilivity."
Rain Taxi Review of Books
"Like microprocessors, the poems in Wild Civility deliver an almost incalculable amount of information instantaneously. As a result, they demonstrate the pure and powerful recombinant energy of language that is the essence of lyric poetry."
Michael Collier, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference
"Wild in its imaginative thrust, civil in its formal command, this glowing new sequence represents David Biespiel's best poetry to date."