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  • The Fall
  • Written by D. Nurkse
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  • The Fall
  • Written by D. Nurkse
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307523365
  • Our Price: $13.99
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Written by D. NurkseAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by D. Nurkse


List Price: $13.99


On Sale: March 25, 2009
Pages: 112 | ISBN: 978-0-307-52336-5
Published by : Knopf Knopf
The Fall Cover

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In this elegant collection, D. Nurkse elegizes a lost father, a foreshortened childhood, and
a young marriage. From the drenched lawns of suburbia to the streets of Brooklyn, he delivers up the small but crucial epiphanies that propel an American coming-of-age and chronicles the development of a tender yet exacting consciousness. As the diversions of childhood prefigure the heartbreak of adulthood, Nurkse captures the exquisite sadness of each small “fall” that carries us further from our early innocence. In the book’s final section, the poet turns to face mortality with a series of stirring poems about illness in midlife. Throughout, Nurkse celebrates the sheer strangeness of our perceptions in a language that is both astute and surpassingly lyrical.

From the Hardcover edition.


Red-And-Silver Schwinn

I would never learn.
She would never love me.

When I wriggled on that cruel seat
a blind force--perhaps hope--
smashed me into the sprinkler system.

Even when I wheeled it,
the bike jack-knifed.

It seemed the fall
was planned within me.

Polite with rage
I refused trainer wheels.

I carried the frame tenderly
over newly sodded lawns.

Once it was my burden
there was nowhere we could not go.


I trained a magnifying glass
on the ant with the crumb
and he stepped away
from the pool of light.
I held the beam
wherever he was going.
At once he shriveled
to a tiny black line
whose ends rose slowly
to meet each other.
I aimed at my hand
and sensed that fire
infinitely distant, close,
then inside me:
when I dropped the lens
I felt no comfort
and called my father's name.


A bell tolled six times
on an island in the fog
and my father turned toward it.

Angelus or a signal?
Where the reefs must be,
a buoy chimed at random.

How to row toward a voice
once it has fallen silent?
He listened tight-lipped:

bitterns, gagging laughter,
slap and hiss of Castine,
creaking oars, my crying.

A white hand cupped us
so we faced each other
entirely inside the mind.

Then he began stroking powerfully,
a vein swelled on his forehead,
his blue knuckles rose like pistons,

even I could sense us circle
under the spell of his right arm,
and he lost himself counting

in his exile's language--
twenty, a thousand, as if our home
lay beyond those enormous numbers.

From the Hardcover edition.
D. Nurkse

About D. Nurkse

D. Nurkse - The Fall

Photo © Jeremiah Kuhlfeld

D. Nurkse is the author of nine previous books of poetry. His recent prizes include a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A former poet laureate of Brooklyn, he has also written widely on human rights.


“Nurkse, former poet laureate of Brooklyn, excels at conveying . . . [a] kind of unaccompanied loneliness . . . [He] soberly relates the cruelties of the world.”
–Time Out New York
“D. Nurkse’s The Fall features three highly personal sequences of poems concerning death, love, and illness. Their drama and the universality of their themes draw us in . . . The Fall–mystical, mesmerizing, elegant–is a cat’s eye of a collection.”
–Bill Christophersen, Poetry
“D. Nurkse, despite his modesty, seems to be weaving poetry’s various movements towards a cohesive zenith, which takes him beyond characterization. He may be a contemporary poet, but his words will live beyond him.”
–Anne Hamilton, Memphis Commercial Appeal
“A collection of exquisitely-shaped poems highlighted by the poet’s gift for delicate yet piercing epiphanies.”
–Dennis Loy Johnson, Athens Banner-Herald
“Nurkse’s style is simple, almost conversational, yet underneath the words, the reader senses great emotion.”
–Library Journal

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