From the acclaimed poet-recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters-a refreshing, singular collection of poems about boys and boyhood, historical cycles and personal history, memory and meaning.
Bicentennial is, in the poet's words: "full of the things a boy growing up when and where I did-Vermont in the seventies-experienced: early VCRs, snow, erections, pizza, snowmobiles, high-school cliques, the Bicentennial celebration…but my book is also an elegy for my father, whom I never knew, and who died in 2009." In these poems Chiasson movingly revisits the kind of autobiographical poems he wrote as a young man, but with a new existential awareness that individuals are always vanishing in time, and throughout the collection he ponders time's conundrums; "All of history, even the Romans,/ they happen later, tonight sleep tight," he tells his sons at bedtime. "You'll learn this later. Tonight, goodnight." In the topsy-turvy world ofBicentennial, history has both happened and is waiting to happen; boys grow up to be men; men never forget what it is to be boys; and fatherhood is the best answer to fatherlessness.
About Dan Chiasson
Dan Chiasson was born in Burlington, Vermont, and was educated at Amherst College and Harvard University, where he completed a Ph.D. in English. His first book of poems, The Afterlife of Objects appeared in 2002. A widely published literary critic, Chiasson is the author of One Kind of Everything:Poem and Person in Contemporary America. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Whiting Writers’ Award, and teaches at Amherst and Wellesley colleges. He lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.