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Floating City


Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets

72 pages / 5.50 x 8.00 inches / None


  Paperback / 9780807132357 / March 2007

"This remarkable book is proof that a light hand is the most masterful. Anne Pierson Wiese's poems read so easily and pleasurably that one hardly realizes one has been confidently moved to a slightly different dimension, a world resembling ours but better observed, and quieter—in the best sense. . . . This is completely accomplished poetry of a very brave kind, daring to be immodestly good—modestly."—Kay Ryan, from her judge's citation

Anne Pierson Wiese's first collection of poems illuminates the everyday and the lessons to be learned amid life's routines. The poems in Floating City might be called poetry of place. Many are set in New York City, but they simultaneously inhabit a realm in which a mundane physical location or daily exchange can be seen to have human significance beyond the immediate. When one dismisses from one's mind the idea that going to the park, doing the laundry, buying a sandwich, and riding the subway are familiar experiences, one makes room for the actual to ally with the hypothetical by means of the emotions. The result, Wiese eloquently shows, is a form of truth that is silently generated whenever human beings earnestly endeavor to absorb the world.

The century plant's flowered spear appears
only once, twenty feet tall, shortly before
its death. Given the proper conditions, all plants
bloom on schedule. We are less sure
of ourselves, the conditions we make
for presenting what's inside us
to the world less specific; we are haunted
by unplantlike doubts about the worth
of what we have to offer. The Botanic
Garden had advertised the event. I don't
remember how old I was, maybe ten.
There was a once-in-a-lifetime line
in the conservatory, a familiar smell
of growth and decay, the choice to look or look away.

“The Century Plant” published in Floating City by Anne Pierson Wiese
Copyright © 2007 by Anne Pierson Wiese. All rights reserved.


Anne Pierson Wiesewas born in Minneapolis and raised in Brooklyn. She has been the recipient of a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a Discovery/The Nation Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Ploughshares, The New England Review, The Hudson Review, Raritan, The Southern Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She and her husband, writer Ben Miller, recently moved from New York City to South Dakota.

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