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Ask
by Lou Suarez

Price: $13.00
88 pages
trade paper
ISBN: 0922811636
LCCN #: 2004019034

Epistemological

There is a moment
between wakefulness and dream
when it is possible to know

everything, when eternity
riffles its pages,
disclosing in a blur

every wondrous fact
and right choice,
every yearning human heart.

Then the moment passes,
the world having inched along
its orbit. But certain remnants

travel with us, later
re-seen in dream or felt
as intuition, transfigured

into ice or voices heard
as air in the plumbing.
Or recast as memories

so slight and fragmentary
they are blown away
by a gust of worry,

or the mere sight of a bird
on a bare branch in winter,
still as stone and strangely familiar.

“This book is a pure pleasure to read. It begs to be read as it is, to be enjoyed bodily. It is the rare book of poetry that is actually pleasant to fall asleep reading (and what dreams it spawns! Magically surreal, many of the poems included are written in the language of dreams) and demand the reader's return to see what will happen next."—Ohioana Quarterly

"The moments on which Suarez reflects are not striking epiphanies but everyday moments paused, to fully realize the beauty of life. Ask is a wonderful collection of poems … [and] should be a staple in contemporary Midwestern poetry.”—Angle 19

"In the stunning, startling poems in Ask, things are never what they seem, and we are led again and again into wrong turns and accidents, curious unanswerable questions. Firmly rooted in specific towns and landscapes there is also a quality here of the parable or the fairy tale: as if we are led out on a solid limb of narrative only to be dropped off into the dark undergrowth of forest. … Through these convincing poems we see that art can guide and save us even through the dangerous surprises of our time."—Maggie Anderson

"Ask celebrates the tenderness of held moments. Its poems are real and true and generous because Suarez, without a hint of pretension, knows whohe is. Read this book. You’ll be glad you did."—Lola Haskins

"What Lou Suarez asks of his poems is that they speak not only his own heart, but ours. What he asks of us is that we focus, as he does, not only on 'those moments that could’ve gone differently' but also on 'the world’s promise.' Ask is 'a study of opposite pressures' explored in language that is at once memorable and wise."—Andrea Hollander Budy

"Although Ask by Lou Suarez is a first full-length book from the author, these are the poems of an accomplished, mature and important poet. So much of what Mr. Suarez does in this book he does so beautifully, and with an inclusive regard for the language we curse and bless each other with on a daily basis. There are no false gestures here, no commercial reaching after fad or fashion. This is poetry that is restorative; poetry that brings us back to the grace and beauty of our ordinary lives together. For its wisdom, for the clarity of its vision, and for the depths of its compassion, this is a book of poetry that we must have among us because these are the kinds of stories that our lives depend upon."—Bruce Weigl

"Casually elegant, sometimes suggestively mysterious, sometimes in love with what only seems ordinary, Lou Suarez's poems observe the dangers and damages of our world with a kind of gentle regard, an attentiveness that can open into wonder and amazement that 'beauty still/imbues this improbable planet.'"—Lawrence Raab

 


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