Because the Stars Shine Through It by Geoff Munsterman 0000-00-00 00:00:00

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by Geoff Munsterman
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Because the Stars Shine Through It by Geoff Munsterman
Geoff Munsterman
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In these fifty-four poems, Munsterman binds together a rough vision of degraded swampland with the decay of American life during disasters: personal, natural, ecological, and political. His words elegize the quaint attributes of love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice, paying respect to those lost loved ones who once stood as guardians for these slipping virtues. With verse unafraid to aim for the throat, gut, or heart, these sometimes rowdy poems command the reader take note of those voices whom history offers no time to honor. Elegy gives way to song—sometimes moody blues and sometimes folk-bluegrass stomp. Despite the losses, these poems are about survival in the face of death, redemption in the face of defeat. Ultimately, these poems are about home, leaving it haunted by the men and women who raised you and returning changed by the experiences met along the way.--------------------- ----------"Forget the moonlight and magnolias: in this young Southerner’s poems, densely textured and drunk with language, men work punishing jobs along the violent Mississippi River and the “petroleum-ruined Gulf” until they drown or their hearts burst. Fishermen dredge up body parts; the young “escape” to Iraq and come back in caskets or with “space-age limbs.” Belle Chasse, Louisiana, has produced the bard who will sing its bridges, tunnel, oil refineries, graves, and orange groves into myth and history."--Julie Kane, Louisiana Poet Laureate (2011-2013) ------------"A journey into the words of Geoff Munsterman is a trip into the real and the beauty to be found down every Louisiana tributary. A poetic portrait of the treasure puzzle that is the soul. This is a literary voice that honors the American language. Munsterman weaves pain, the eye of the heart and the raw simple power of life into word art. Here is a poet."--Chris Champagne, author of The Yat Dictionary and Roach Opera  -------------This rich, nuanced collection makes me nostalgic for a place I've never been—Belle Chasse, LA—where fishermen reel in human jaws and river pilot uncles work the spill and "township limit signs mock our effort." What a gorgeous evocation of place, and the characters that haunt the levee, drink the chicory coffee "thick enough to walk across," endure "good times tightening like koozies over beers." Because the Stars Shine Through It is both elegy and paean, and we are richer because it's in the world."--Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables (W.W. Norton) ----------"Dear ghosts of Belle Chasse and New Orleans, dear elder and adolescent ghosts, dear ghosts of drowned dreams, you have here your poet. “Never let the ghosts pass through/ you without saying hello,” Geoff Munsterman advises. But being on such speaking terms with ghosts doesn’t come easy: there’s a steep price for such access, for being the commander and sole guardsman of “Operation Bring the Dead Home.” Post-Katrina, post-BP realities have rarely been evoked so precisely, so exactingly, and so gracefully as in these lyrics and long poems. (Of the long poems, “Tunnel” surely ranks as an early 21st century masterpiece.) The poems gain wisdom (“If surviving was easy/ everyone would do it”), and the capacity to amplify earthly joy in celebrating Creole tomatoes, “stewed rabbit/& carrots & persimmons in a pan,” the pleasures of friendship and place. In all its grief and ecstasies, this is the book our ghosts have been waiting for." --Brad Richard, author of Butcher’s Sugar (Sibling Rivalry) ----------"Geoff Munsterman's poetry is visceral and robust. It gives life to a region of hard-scrabble human richness registered in his supple and often gritty lines. I found myself repeatedly surprised and moved and sometimes even unnerved."--David H. Lynn, Editor of The Kenyon Review

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