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Struggling Times

Struggling Times by Louis Simpson
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Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Louis Simpson has been a leading figure in American letters for more than half a century. Born in the West Indies, Simpson immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen. He studied at Columbia University, then served the US Army in active duty in Europe during World War II. After the war he continued his studies at Columbia and at the University of Paris. While living in France, he published his first book of poems, The Arrivistes (1949).

The poems in Struggling Times find Simpson’s distinct imaginative voice working at its full poetic power. Both timely and personal, the poems reveal Simpson’s ongoing quarrel with suburban America, as well as the American government’s struggle to retain its integrity and honor in the midst of its own aggression and worldwide strife.

You have to be careful
what you hear or see.
In Afghanistan I saw

the man and the woman
who were caught in adultery
buried up to their heads.

Their children were brought
and told to throw stones.
I can still see the heads

twisting on the ground.
The poor devil in Papillon
with his head in the guillotine . . .

but Goya’s half-buried dog
looking up at the sky
I think was the worst of all.

"This is the Jamaican-born Simpson's 18th collection; its dry trimeters and tragic resignations should certainly please the faithful fans... Yet the new poems, as much as any in his oeuvre, leave room for unexpected happiness...Simpson believes in endurance and the rewards of the ordinary. He can, at his best, make his readers believe in those things too."

                                                                --Publishers Weekly

Louis Simpson’s last book, The Owner of the House: New Collected Poems 1940-2001, (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2003) was finalist for the National Book Award and the Griffin Poetry Prize. His other honors include the Prix de Rome, Guggenheim Foundation fellowships, and the Columbia Medal for Excellence.

BOA Editions Ltd.; September 2016
89 pages; ISBN 9781942683285
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Title: Struggling Times
Author: Louis Simpson