Old Brown: Poems (Appalachian Writing) (Paperback)
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"Truth is Justice's drunken sister./ She jaywalks, spits on the sidewalk, / burns books in the courtyard, / pulls tongues from the root." And the truth we get in Craig Paulenich's OLD BROWN is no easy truth. Powerful and unwavering, Paulenich digs deep into nineteenth century history, using Captain John Brown as a touchstone to illuminate America's uneasy relationship with race and its obsession with violence. Part poetry, part history, Paulenich's portrait is an indictment of our contemporary times, his John Brown both prophet and terrorist, hero and cold-blooded killer, an everyman for our schizophrenic America. In stunningly imaginative poems that range from catalogs of the dead to lyric meditations on religion's role in our complicity, Paulenich masterfully connects the dots from Harper's Ferry to our modern terrorist state, pointing out along the way that "Slavery is the American Leviathan, and we, / Jonah's all, rattle about inside its brass ribs." Peter Grandbois, author of Kissing the Lobster.