John Surowiecki, The Place of the Solitaires

Wolfson Press

ISBN 9781950066117
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The Place of the Solitaires
Poems from Titles by Wallace Stevens

by John Surowiecki
paperback, 50 pages

The Place of the Solitaires is John Surowiecki's fourteenth book of poetry. He is the recipient of the Poetry Foundation Pegasus Award for Verse Drama, the Pablo Neruda Prize, the Washington Prize, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. His novel Pie Man won the Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel. L.A. Flammang writes that The Place of the Solitaires "speaks to our historical moment, evoking the pandemic, social reckoning, work, and loneliness. As always, Surowiecki engages big questions about aging, time, and mourning with no hint of sentimentality."

Other reviews:
"John Surowiecki uses Stevens’ titles as a bird might use the tip of a branch, to spring more effortlessly into flight. These poems are finely nuanced meditations and lyric evocations. The Stevens title may remain as a wind that inflects the course of the poem which follows, but Surowiecki is clearly steering these poems to his own will and whim. The memories, the people, the daily incidents and accidents are all Surowiecki’s, all rendered with graceful phrasings and the profound engagement of a poet who knows 'what thoughts have escaped him / and flown away—fly away still— / never rooted in speech'.”
—James Finnegan, former Poetry Editor, The Wallace Stevens Journal

"Wallace Stevens looms large. Yet 'his river was never quite ours', Surowiecki asserts, and goes on to present a different Connecticut, a state of 'sidewalk milkweeds', city buses, shadowy bars, and most gloriously — ordinary, everyday people. These poems step out from Stevens's shadow and dazzle us with their light."
—Shelley Puhak, author of Harbinger, a 2021 National Poetry Series selection.

About the Author

"I grew up in Meriden, Connecticut, a city once famous for its silverware industry. Both my parents were factory workers and bartenders (my father claimed he once served Judy Garland). I received my BA in English from the University of Connecticut in 1966 and my MA in 1976 (I am, alas, a PhD dropout). I’ve worked as a journalist, copywriter, and teacher; I’ve been a freelance writer since 1995. I have two children (Vanessa, a union organizer, and John Edward, a musician and graphic artist) and three grandsons: Jerzy, Edward Stanislaus, and Ishmael. My wife, Denise, is an attorney and an avid and tireless supporter of my work. Pretty boring, huh?"