Today's poem is "Death School"
from Wayne's College of Beauty

BkMk Press

David Swanger lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife, Lynn. His awards include an NEA fellowship in poetry and the Foley Award from America magazine. He is the author of four previous book-length poetry collections, two chapbooks, and two nonfiction books. He holds degrees from Swarthmore College and Harvard University.

About Wayne's College of Beauty:

"Although David Swanger does not flinch from the large forces that daily battle us—flood, fire, war, old age, illness, menace, death, 'asteroids advancing toward earth'—or hesitate to venture 'into the deep deep dark,' his is primarily a poetry of praise, populated first and foremost by beauty and kindness, affection and acceptance, generosity and celebration. Whether witnessing the sting of a father fielding grounders of loss from his young son, or a husband patiently watching his new wife go off with another man to 'test- / drive their liaison,' or 'the astonishing flash of pain' that was, and always will be, 9/11, these eloquent and consoling poems touch us, like the students at Wayne’s College of Beauty, 'not cruelly/ and with more than [their] hands.' Like the patrons of Wayne’s, when you come to this book, where 'beauty is not so hard,' where 'the idea is to sing,/ very beautifully, a little longer,' you 'have come at last to the right place."
—Ronald Wallace

"Wayne's College of Beauty is remarkable for its balance of emotion and imagination. The control of language gives us an original and distilled imagery, and that in turn leads us not simply to the well made surface of the poem as we see in much recent poetry but instead takes us into the deep and measured freight of emotion. Swanger writes with great empathy and compassion for family and friends facing crisis and mortality, and often, the discrete vistas of his imagination render a metaphysical resolution that is at once anchored and luminous in the world. Whether his subjects are animate or inanimate, Swanger’s voice is credible and compelling, and poem after poem lifts off on its own good wings."
—Christopher Buckley

"Perhaps we can ask no more of Wayne's College of Beauty than that it end with one of the greatest poems of the past quarter-century, 'What the Wing Says.' But David Swanger’s long-percolated collection does offer more, including a number of other re-markable poems—'Longer,' 'Style,' and 'Spring School' among them—that will permanently inhabit any reader fortunate enough to make a first encounter. Swanger is at once 'the prophet of less,' the mind that 'cannot get enough of the world' and is 'made to marvel / at the durability of newness,' and the poet who recognizes, deeply, that not even pain or cruelty can dampen his belief that against all odds and logic 'the idea is to sing, / very beautifully, a little longer . . ."
—Stephen Corey

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