North American Titles

Jim Goar - The Dustbowl


Jim Goar - The Dustbowl

Published 2014. Paperback, 86pp, 8.5x5.5ins
ISBN 978-1-84861-321-8  [Download a PDF sampler from this book here.]

The Dustbowl is a collection of serial poems that intertwine Arthurian legend and Dust Bowl Americana with fragmented memories of Arizona and California. The book’s polyphonic voices conjoin perpetually questing knights and those journeying west into a single body. The Guardian’s review of Dear World & Everyone In It complemented the anthology for its inclusion of pieces from this “expertly challenging” sequence.

"The poems of Jim Goar are neat and deep and, like cuts in an old bullet, remind us of a spent function in America today. We are labeled but have nowhere to place the identity, empty. You wear a grail under your hat and it blows away. The poems don't feel 'American' in the old 'grain' sense, despite their Dustbowl origins. They feel as if nothing around here is familiar, which is the way a lot of us feel, without knowing whatever WAS familiar. Reading this collection I think the American landscape is the best representation of another planet we can get, 'No fog to roll for change', Jim Goar remarks." —Fanny Howe 

"Jim Goar's beautiful new collection, The Dustbowl, is enigmatic, spare and reflective. These poems consider loss and change and love, experientially tempered by a winding chase towards an ephemeral, elusive Grail. Goar's poems read like a lightly abstracted vernacular mix of early 1960s poet Jack Spicer and function, in part, as a tribute to him. The great 1930s' Dust Bowl troubadour Woody Guthrie also ghosts some settings and the final poems are caught in a recent Korean hurricane. Beyond the storms we are offered an impossible quest comprised of absurdist pleasures, zennish impressions and quiet synaesthetic gifts. In this book you can smell the moon in places as different from each other as Seoul and Tucson." —Pam Brown
"Goar is, in some sense, who Ken Burns would be if Burns wrote poems, writing about what makes many people feel good about America, but also causing the reader to question what they really know." —Spencer Hendrixson, The Rumpus


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