The Long Surprise
Poetry
5.5 x 8.5, 80 pp.
Pub Date: 08/29/2001
  paper
Price:        $12.00

978-1-881515-35-7

Published by Texas Review Press
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Winner of the 2000 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

The Long Surprise

By Barbara Lau

Contest Judge X. J. Kennedy heralds Barbara Lau's The Long Surprise as "full of unexpectedness . . . feeling and verve" and "a confident step onto the main stage of American poetry."

Adds Eleanor Wilner, "Here is a poet of candor, vigor and daylight vision, who loves without illusion. . . whose ear is unerring, and whose startlingly fresh images push up like 'wild mint . . . through sidewalks.'"

Posing questions about the making of art ("Is chaos / counterpoint to art, or instead, / its tuning fork?"), marriage ("How little is enough?"), faith, family, and selfhood ("Where does she begin / and I end?"), Lau explores "how life announces itself" at our uneasy turn of the century.

Her poems witness both the horrific the loss of a child, the greed of the impoverished, the motives behind child prostitution and common pleasures "so dense they sedate you."

BARBARA LAU currently teaches creative writing, composition, and literature at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

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