Bill's Boys

978-1-62288-404-9 Paperback
6 x 9 x 0 in
120 pp.
Pub Date: 12/16/2021


  • Paperback $18.00

A true American demotic, Bill’s Boys is a difficult register, but here’s a poet able to tackle it.. Not since the late, great, Thomas McGrath has a poet spoken so clearly of working class life in its own true tone, as McEwen does here in grim stories from hardworking lives, unsparing, unsentimental but shot through with love and courage — not least the courage of unsparing truths from the dark intersections between Irish and American histories, so rarely spoken of, much less examined.

Without the whiskey he still had his spells

of standing-steady rolling when he’d grab

the earless side of his damp head and squeeze

it hard, then knuckle it. The first time I

remember it his eyes began to writhe

like molten stones. From corded neck

on down his convoluted body rolled

and plunged and pitched while standing still, his feet

clamped solid on the pitching floor. And while

I cowered behind the sofa bed I saw

my mother leap beyond the kitchen with

a wet dish rag she flailed against his head

and face until he stopped, and she had flung

herself about him like a throbbing shawl.

Published by Stephen F. Austin University Press