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The Light in Our Houses


Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize Series

72 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations


  Paperback / 9780807126226 / May 2000

“This book dares to forgo the heavy-handed irony and satiric wink that are so often the chief characteristics of newer poetry. . . . Al Maginnes can be dark indeed, but his gaze is finally steady and straight ahead. He is aware, awake, amazed, and alive — all the things we want from a poet — and in language that ultimately blesses with the old lyric joy.” —Betty Adcock, who selected The Light in Our Houses from a field of more than five hundred entries

Remarkable for their dark, sharp wit, their stylistic unity, and their combination of sweetness and risk, the poems in The Light in Our Houses probe the intersection of public and private history, and visit the way stories are told: “what we have named history / was once only the braided rivers / of people’s lives, currents that brimmed / fast and dangerous, then emptied / into the wide blank spill of ocean.” Voicing a disdain for conclusions — “the gaudy clothes we wrap narrative in” — Al Maginnes writes poems that carry the weight of parables.

Al Maginnes is also the author of Taking Up Our Daily Tools. His poems have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Georgia Review, Antioch Review, Shenandoah, and many other literary journals. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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