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Mercies in the American Desert: Poems (Paperback)

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Reflecting on the Salem witch trials, Puritan minister Cotton Mather cautioned his flock against the moral temptations of the unknown wild, located in what he termed an "American desert." Today, more than three hundred years later, we understand that our troubles have their origins not in some ambiguous beyond; rather, they are of our own making.

Benjamin Landry's Mercies in the American Desert attempts a clear-eyed reckoning with the people and the nation we have become: a land assailed by gun violence, police brutality, and state-sanctioned racism. This vivid collection considers a range of bodies encompassing the geographic, the personal, and the political. It locates solace in movement, sound, and observation, as when Pina Bausch heron-dances down a traffic median or when the expansive form of a surfacing manta ray teaches us how to breathe again.

Incorporating short bursts of prose poem alongside longer meditations, and working in both alliterative and narrative modes, Mercies in the American Desert conjures a redemptive wilderness for our time.

About the Author

Benjamin Landry is the author of Particle and Wave, shortlisted for the Believer Poetry Award, and Burn Lyrics. His poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. He is visiting assistant professor of creative writing in poetry at SUNY-Potsdam.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780807173114
ISBN-10: 0807173118
Publisher: LSU Press
Publication Date: March 10th, 2021
Pages: 92
Language: English