Famous Americans

Loren Goodman; Foreword by W. S. Merwin

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March 11, 2003
96 pages, 6 3/4 x 9
ISBN: 9780300100037
Paper

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Cloth

This year’s winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Loren Goodman’s Famous Americans. Hilarious, eclectic, and bizarre, this collection takes the reader on a rollercoaster of a ride through the absurdities of American pop culture. Employing a variety of forms (from epistolary to script to interview and beyond), this work proves to be as much about exploring frameworks as it is about examining the lives of famous and not-so-famous Americans. Goodman questions our concept of what it means to be an icon: he disrupts our assumptions, creating an alternate universe in which nothing remains sacred.

Loren Goodman was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated from Columbia University with an AB in philosophy in 1991, and went on to study at the University of Arizona (MFA, poetry) and SUNY Buffalo (MA, English literature). He is currently pursuing PhD degrees at SUNY Buffalo (English literature) and Kobe University (sociology). He lives in Japan and is active in martial arts.

"The Yale Series of Younger Poets remains the most prestigious [of poetry contests]."—Library Journal

“Famous last words for this terrific book are hard to come by but one such would be ‘Wonderful!’ Loren Goodman has made a veritable masterpiece out of leftover formulae for writing quite other stuff indeed. Famous Americans is my kind of people.”—Robert Creeley, author of Just in Time, Poems 1984–1994

"Goodman’s debut is pyrotechnic, polymathic, and wild as a naked deb on a skateboard."—Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Sharp-witted and unreverential."—Sarah Kennedy, American Book Review

"It’s hard to imagine a poetry so free of anxiety as Goodman’s Famous Americans. . . . It’s liberating to read a poetry so free of concern for itself."—Paul Killebrew, Boston Review

“Often amusing, always smart, Famous Americans makes for an impressive debut.”—Carrie Etter, Times Literary Supplement

“Loren Goodman’s Famous Americans [is] winner of one of the most prestigious national prizes in poetry, The Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Full of jokes, puns, parodies, philosophical games, mock interviews, imagined indexes, faux biographies and meta-lyrics, Goodman’s book is a brilliant example of what we might call the idiot savant school of contemporary American poetry. . . . A book of many tones, hues, laughs and thoughts, Famous Americans reveals an inexhaustible curiosity and a generously skewed spirit.”—Maureen N. McLane, Chicago Tribune
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