In his twelfth collection, his first since winning the Pulitzer Prize, Stephen Dunn turns his keen gaze on Sisyphus, our contemporary Everyman. Free, for the time being, from the power of the gods and the ceaseless weight of the rock, he struggles to navigate twenty-first-century America. In language by turns mordant and tender, often elegiac, Dunn illuminates the quotidian burdens of his all-too-human hero, as well as the abrasions of ambivalence and choice, finally concluding that "here / and there, though mostly here, even fate is reversible / with struggle or luck." In a second sequence of poems, nineteenth-century novelists become "local visitors" to the author's South Jersey towns. "Chekhov in Port Republic," "Jane Austen in Egg Harbor," "Dostoyevsky in Wildwood": these inventions and others give Dunn provocative new latitudes. As in his previous books, "he balances the casual and the vivid as he plumbs the ambiguity and mystery of human relations" ("New York Times Book Review").
"Dunn's wit, command of language and form, and laser-sharp discernment of the human condition have never been keener."