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Curses and Wishes


Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets

64 pages / 5.50 x 8.50 inches / no illustrations

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807137765 / April 2011

Winner of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry

The unusual voice encountered in Curses and Wishes carries a quiet, slightly elevated conversational tone, which flows from intimate secrets to wider social concerns. The poet has faith in economy and trusts in images to transfer knowledge that speech cannot. In Curses and Wishes the short, simple lines add up to a thoughtful book possessed with lyrical melancholy, a harmony of sadness and joy that sings: "May happiness be a wheel, a lit throne, spinning / in the vast pinprick of darkness." By the close of this ambitious work the poet has inspired readers to see the multifaceted effects of our human connections.

Carl Adamshick received an Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts and is a cofounder of Tavern Books. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, The Harvard Review, The Missouri Review, American Poet, and Narrative magazine.

Review of Curses and Wishes

"There is a quiet power in these poems and this slim volume, which leave readers waiting to devour more from Adamshick.  Many of the poems are about change and what it means to be changed and keep moving onward and upward... Another one for the Best of List of 2011."

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