“With this book Petrosky affirms a profoundly redemptive talent. It brings a smile of relief and gratitude that such an art can happen.” —David Ignatow
In Red and Yellow Boat, his second book, Anthony Petrosky, winner of the 1982 Walt Whitman Award of The Academy of American Poets for Jurgis Petraskas, weaves together themes of class and family conflict, unit and brotherhood, love, suffering, and transformation. These poems pay homage to the difficult lives of the working class, taking care to allow those lives their full complexity and revealing emotions that drive them both into and away from the realities of daily existence. Petrosky addresses one of these realities in “My Father’s Voice”:
When he talks suicide,
I tell him there are reasons to live,
and he tells me, with that voice,
that I don’t know what I’m talking about,
that I don’t know the pain he feels.
He says it with the voice now inside of me,
the one that speaks and snaps out
when I am afraid or angry,
and I have begun to hear it in my sons.
Counterbalancing these emotions are poems that celebrate the triumph of love–the poet’s love for his sons, for a woman, for lives that can be decisively changed. The result is a moving, intensely felt collection, a striking successor to the poet’s first book.
Anthony Petrosky was born in Exeter, Pennsylvania. The studied at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and has taught in China and Eastern Europe. He is a professor at he University of Pittsburgh. His first book, Jurgis Petraskas, was selected by Philip Liveine as winner of the 1982 Walt Whitman Award of The Academy of American Poets and was named a Notable Book of the Year by the American Library Association. He is also the author (with David Bartholomae) of Ways of Reading and Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts.
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