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Today's poem is "An Old Man Performs Alchemy on His Doorstep at Christmastime"
from Acts of Contortion

The University of Wisconsin Press

Anna George Meek is a freelance violinist, violin teacher, and instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis; she has also spent several years working as crisis intervention staff at a domestic violence shelter. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Missouri Review, Poetry, and other journals. She received an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at the John Hopkins University and an M.A. in English from Indiana University, where she was a 1995 recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize. This is her first book.

About Acts of Contortion:

"Acts of Contortion is a first book of great urgency, a scorching protest against human suffering. I am deepened immeasurably by this work that struggles to make connections and transfigure losses, these beautifully made poems— contorted acts!—that hum with the music of compassion."
—Edward Hirsch

"Reading Anna Meek's sensual and eloquent Acts of Contortion is like listening to a great symphony. Fragments from the first bars reappear, subside, disappear, and return us once again to her deepest perception—that the body is an instrument of truth. Sometimes the body is lucky, and expresses itself through the music of the violin, or through the production of passionate speech or poetry. But sometimes the body can do nothing but break open in the face of violence—in birth, in pain, in death. These exquisitely crafted poems are unflinching in their honesty, reaffirming precision over approximation as the human ideal."
—Maura Stanton

"From its opening paean to the human hand, to its final sequence's circus contortionist who 'twists . . . bearing / down into into her chest like a cellist,' Anna Meek's fine first book returns continually to the world of the flesh, its wonders and woes, where 'the skin cries with love,' and the abused seek shelter, and a woman pregnant with twins feels how 'her generous body aspires to open.' But these poems are smart and sly as well as sensual. They attempt to be true to the fullness of our condition, and they leave us feeling ultimately that we've been in . . . well, good hands."
—Albert Goldbarth



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