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Imaginary Logic

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A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award–winning poet Imaginary Logic is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Jones’s distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless. “The Art of Heave A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award–winning poet Imaginary Logic is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Jones’s distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless. “The Art of Heaven” opens with a parody of Dante and a down-home, twisted humor that Jones’s readers have come to rely on: “In the middle of my life I came to a dark wood, / the smell of barbecue, kids running in the yards. / Not deep depression. This nice hell of suburbs. / Speed bumps. The way things aren’t quite paradise.”Rodney Jones, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of America’s “best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets” (Poetry). Imaginary Logic is the most eloquent expression yet of his rigorous mind, scrupulous eye, and capacious heart.


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A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award–winning poet Imaginary Logic is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Jones’s distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless. “The Art of Heave A new collection from a Kingsley Tufts Award–winning poet Imaginary Logic is a brilliantly expansive, deeply meditative, and at times wildly imaginative collection of poems that combines Rodney Jones’s distinctive storytelling ability, sharp social intelligence, and keen powers of observation in a book that is wistful, satiric, audacious, and remorseless. “The Art of Heaven” opens with a parody of Dante and a down-home, twisted humor that Jones’s readers have come to rely on: “In the middle of my life I came to a dark wood, / the smell of barbecue, kids running in the yards. / Not deep depression. This nice hell of suburbs. / Speed bumps. The way things aren’t quite paradise.”Rodney Jones, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of America’s “best, most generous, and most brilliantly readable poets” (Poetry). Imaginary Logic is the most eloquent expression yet of his rigorous mind, scrupulous eye, and capacious heart.

30 review for Imaginary Logic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane Kistner

    Although you'll find a few academic allusions and the occasional lapse into professorial tone (he is an English professor, after all), most of the poems in Rodney Jones' new book are down-to-earth and accessible to all readers. There is nothing flouncy about these poems; if anything, there is a spare and masculine edge to the stories told. Jones' style is (to use that old cliche) deceptively simple. It's as though the reader were walking along a road or path, quietly taking in the surroundings, Although you'll find a few academic allusions and the occasional lapse into professorial tone (he is an English professor, after all), most of the poems in Rodney Jones' new book are down-to-earth and accessible to all readers. There is nothing flouncy about these poems; if anything, there is a spare and masculine edge to the stories told. Jones' style is (to use that old cliche) deceptively simple. It's as though the reader were walking along a road or path, quietly taking in the surroundings, when a small stone—Jones' insight or sudden sharp image—catches the light in just such a way that it beckons to be picked up, rubbed between thumb and fingers, then kept as a memento of the day. I know how important it is to be able to hear a poet's voice before buying a book, but because these poems (and the book itself) are whole and not easily excerpted, it's hard to convey for potential new readers the quiet, building power of this book. My favorite poem in this volume is "What Is True for a Minute," a poem about alien encounters (I have those myself!): "Once a wall spoke. A deer instructed me. A retriever looked at me with the eyes of my newly dead friend, and staring back at it, I thought of how the gods appeared to men except my aliens were never gods. One was a shadow. One was a cottonmouth underwater." The long poem, "The Previous Tenants," is a fine example of how the poet tells stories within stories within a poem, as the following widely separated excerpts suggest. I hope these will give you a feel for Jones' style. "And then the younger son stood and agreed that, yes, she was a fine counselor, but a terrible mother. 'She was not there for us when we failed. She only loved our successes.' Cicadas, then October's first cold night, the instant stuck there like an arrow singing in a wall." ... "How small the distance to our neighbors across history. We tell the time by the birdfeeder rotting on its post. From the oak log in the gully, we know their shade. From things that work and things that no longer work." ... "When people die, you look for them beside you and find them sometimes in the hawk's eyes, and then back, back into the cloud, the shape of vanishing. Something today in the in-box that does not apply, that slipped the title-grabbers of the spam filters—"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mike Lindgren

    Above-average collection from acerbic Southerner Jones, distinguished by occasionally zany metaphorical conceits and a kind of offbeat wit. Jones's South is populated by deranged football coaches, barflies, Christian zealots, evicted poor whites, and other colorful Faulknerian denizens, and contains plentiful references to carpentry, plumbing, auto repair, and the like, all narrated by an amused -- and occasionally bemused -- "lucky man / alive in the dark country." We poets are jus' folks, too. Above-average collection from acerbic Southerner Jones, distinguished by occasionally zany metaphorical conceits and a kind of offbeat wit. Jones's South is populated by deranged football coaches, barflies, Christian zealots, evicted poor whites, and other colorful Faulknerian denizens, and contains plentiful references to carpentry, plumbing, auto repair, and the like, all narrated by an amused -- and occasionally bemused -- "lucky man / alive in the dark country." We poets are jus' folks, too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zoë Danielle

    Review will be posted closer to the date of publication.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Lamb

    I was raised not to say things that give offense, a cultivated mind, a garden of beautiful words like A Child's Garden of Verses on the shelf; and, under the euphemisms, a paralysis of cordialities, so for my sister and me it was never possible to have it out. As if the soul were better left private, our mother pointed to the intractable God, to be worshiped publicly, prayed to in silence. The usual Protestant thought. With others we were always wrong. Only in solitude could we be right. I was raised not to say things that give offense, a cultivated mind, a garden of beautiful words like A Child's Garden of Verses on the shelf; and, under the euphemisms, a paralysis of cordialities, so for my sister and me it was never possible to have it out. As if the soul were better left private, our mother pointed to the intractable God, to be worshiped publicly, prayed to in silence. The usual Protestant thought. With others we were always wrong. Only in solitude could we be right.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elsa

    2.5 but I bumped it up to 3 stars because a couple of these poems were very good. One of the reasons I don't read a lot of contemporary poetry is that I often feel like I'm missing something, that I don't get the inside joke, and...well...I just didn't "get it" for most of these poems. 2.5 but I bumped it up to 3 stars because a couple of these poems were very good. One of the reasons I don't read a lot of contemporary poetry is that I often feel like I'm missing something, that I don't get the inside joke, and...well...I just didn't "get it" for most of these poems.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sesho Maru

    Nothing here that really resonates in your mind like poetry should.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike Kanner

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Davidson

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Haynes

  12. 4 out of 5

    A.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeffery Berg

  14. 4 out of 5

    Josh Myers

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dave

  16. 4 out of 5

    steven l jones

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve Quinn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simeon Berry

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Meyerhofer

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tim

  22. 4 out of 5

    Will

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris White

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nandi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan Wood

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amie Whittemore

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Hagy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Stoy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  30. 5 out of 5

    M. Gaffney

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