Today's poem is "The Sleep of Wood in The Houses of Wrens"
from The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels

White Pine Press

George Looney's first book, Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh, won the 1995 Bluestem Award and was published by Bluestem Press. His second, Attendant Ghosts, was published by Cleveland State University Press in 2000. In 2001, Pudding House Press published his Greatest Hits 1990-2000. His poetry has earned him a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, and two grants from the Ohio Arts Council. In 2003, poems of his won The Larry Levis Editors Award for Poetry from Missouri Review. His poems and stories have recently appeared in such journals as The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, The New England Review, The Gettysburg Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ascent, Prairie Schooner, Hotel Amerika, and many others. He is co-director of The Chautauqua Writers Festival, and serves as editor-in-chief of Lake Effect and translation editor of Mid-American Review. He is associate professor of English and creative writing at Penn State Erie, where he is program chair of a brand new B.F.A. in creative writing he designed.

Other poems by George Looney in Verse Daily:
May 24, 2005:  "Music Left by Another" ""The gecko survives by clinging...."
April 4, 2005:  "Figures We're Meant to Believe In" ""Coal runs veins under what was..."
October 30, 2004:  "Madness in the Form of Birds" "Folks say mynahs mimic human speech...."

About The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels:

"George Looney's attendant ghosts are fully in residence in this land of precarious rhetoric—his ghosts and angels have always been each other's familiars. He reminds me of Stephen Dunn, from whom he borrows a winged form or two, but the living ghosts are pure Looney, his lonely mental travelers, his waitresses and bartenders (and now a coroner), singing dusty desert ballads and river songs in the gathering dark, with their body parts weirdly glowing. This most lyric of poets reads almost like visual art—his people in extremity wander dream geographies that feel like Goya or Bosch, maybe with some Saatchi gallery installations on the outskirts of town. Like Annie Proulx's fiction, Looney's poetry maps a landscape of his own, where people do their dazed dancing all hapless and timeless and lost. Most of all, reading Looney is like reading Chris Ware's graphic novel, Jimmy Corrigan, and thinking you should seek medical attention because it makes you feel so much. But this isn't a bad thing. His characters are also magical and wise, and when they're falling, it isn't Hopkins' Margaret you mourn for; it's Looney's own people, all those animals he has housed in the pleasures of their flesh."
—Diana Hume George

"In this beautiful book, Looney paints the slow dance of a human soul across the infinitely flat landscape of the Midwest, where dreams are informed by suffering, hope by loss. Capturing the capacity of the spirit to endure, these poems are careful, intricately rendered tapestries, at once funny and painful, that address the relentless quest of the human heart for meaning, magic, resolution and definition. Brilliant and entertaining, Looney engages the reader even as he enlightens. Both plain spoken and mystically speculative, he takes you line by line to that place where heaven and earth, longing and grief, meet—and awe begins."
—Nin Andrews

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