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Shadow Box

Poems

by Fred Chappell

96 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available

Poetry

  Hardcover / 9780807134528 / July 2009
  Paperback / 9780807134535 / July 2009

In this sharply innovative collection, renowned poet Fred Chappell layers words and images to create a new and dramatic poetic form--the poem-within-a-poem. Like the shadow box in the volume's title, each piece consists of an inner world contained, framed, supported by an outer--the two interdependent, sometimes supplementary, often contrary. For example, the grim but gorgeous "The Caretakers" is a landscape that reveals another image inside it. Chappell also introduces sonnets in which the sestet nests within the octet. Play serves as an important component, but the poems do not depend upon gamesmanship or verbal strategems. Instead, they delicately or wittily trace human feelings, respond somberly to the news of the world, and rejoice in humankind's plentiful variety of attitudes and beliefs. Just as an x-ray can show the inner structure of a physical object, so the techniques in Shadow Box display the internal energies of the separate works.

With this new form--the "enclosed" or "embedded" or "inlaid" poem--Chappell broadens the expressive possibilities of formal poetry, intrigues the imagination in an entirely new way, and offers surprise and revelation in sudden flashes. At once revolutionary and traditional, Shadow Box contains an Aladdin's trove of surprises.

Fred Chappell is the author of a dozen other books of verse, including Backsass and Spring Garden; two story collections; and eight novels. A native of Canton in the mountains of western North Carolina, he taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro from 1964 to 2004. He is the winner of, among other awards, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, Aiken Taylor Award, T. S. Eliot Prize, and Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry eight times over.

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