Almost Nothing To Be Scared Of

Paperback | April 1, 2016

byDavid Clewell

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Full of Clewell’s distinctive blend of narrative and lyric, as well as his unabashed, idiosyncratic sense of wonder, these poems often spring from unlikely sources: Adam and Eve’s Paradisal do-over at the Jersey shore, the misguided promise of tinfoil hats, Uncle Bud on the Moon, Debbie Fuller on Pluto, debatable Bigfoot nomenclature, Richard Nixon’s social-media rejuvenation, and a Nebraska policeman’s run-in with space aliens who tell him, “We want you to believe in us—but not too much.”
           In Almost Nothing To Be Scared Of, David Clewell’s most expansive work yet, readers will discover a multiplicity of new ways to take heart—surely no small thing in a world where we’re too often asked to take what we’d rather not.

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Full of Clewell’s distinctive blend of narrative and lyric, as well as his unabashed, idiosyncratic sense of wonder, these poems often spring from unlikely sources: Adam and Eve’s Paradisal do-over at the Jersey shore, the misguided promise of tinfoil hats, Uncle Bud on the Moon, Debbie Fuller on Pluto, debatable Bigfoot nomenclature, ...

David Clewell is the author of a dozen books of poetry, including Taken Somehow by Surprise, The Low End of Higher Things, Now We’re Getting Somewhere, Jack Ruby’s America, and Blessings in Disguise. He is a former poet laureate of Missouri and also formerly a circus laborer, professional weight guesser, and professional wrestler. He c...

other books by David Clewell

Taken Somehow By Surprise
Taken Somehow By Surprise

Paperback|Mar 10 2011

$22.49 online$22.50list price
Now We're Getting Somewhere
Now We're Getting Somewhere

Paperback|Oct 15 1994

$19.50

The Low End Of Higher Things
The Low End Of Higher Things

Paperback|Mar 18 2003

$22.50

Format:PaperbackDimensions:152 pages, 9 × 7 × 0.7 inPublished:April 1, 2016Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299307247

ISBN - 13:9780299307240

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Read from the Book

The sign said NO SWIMMING AFTER DARK, so they didn’t—having grown considerably more circumspect since the last time they went against the wishes of Management. Still, they figured it might be all right to go naked once more and not be ashamed. Those were days of good cheer in the Garden, but this time Adam couldn’t stop humming Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini. Even though the words were impossibly beyond him, Eve in a bikini was not. —excerpt from “The Real Story of Adam and Eve, Wherein the True Cradle of Civilization Is Revealed,” © The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Quality Control
Acknowledgments: This Poem Would Not Have Been Possible
 
I. Someone’s Gone and Done It Now
The Real Story of Adam and Eve, Wherein the True Cradle of Civilization Is Revealed
Despite What You Might Have Heard to the Contrary, the Hand Is Never Quicker Than the Eye
A Lesson from My Brief History in Professional Wrestling
There Was a Time We Weren’t Afraid of Saying That Is All
When I Called the National Security Agency to Complain About the Indiscriminate Collection of Private Citizens’ Telephone Records, I Was Put on Hold for a Suspiciously Long Time
Since So Many People Don’t Seem to Know What No Soliciting Means, I Tried to Spell It Out More Fully on My Front Door
The Guy on the Corner Is Snapping His Fingers to Keep the Elephant Jokes Away
Charlie the Tuna: A Matter of Taste
Cryptozoology 101: The Academics Have a Point, and Yet Once Again They Miss a Much Larger One
Greetings from Roswell, New Mexico: Home of the Historic 1947 Flying Saucer Crash
Because It Was the Year the Mayan Calendar Ran Out, Some People Feared the Worst in 2012
The JFK Assassination Deluxe Diorama Kits Are Here!
What If All Along We’ve Been Wrong About Tinfoil Hats
 
II. Civility Was All the Rage
Do Not Overinflate
In 1963 I Had to Write a Thousand Words
In 1966 Debbie Fuller Was Sweet on Pluto
In the Extreme
My Father’s Wholehearted Mixed Message
I’m Sorry There Are No More Flying Saucers
Even After All This Time, I’d Like to Have a Word with You
My Teenage Son Is Lately Preoccupied with Textiles
The Bartender Doesn’t Ask Much
Buskers Forewarned
If We Were to Experience an Outbreak Like That One in Ancient Thrace
The Doctor’s Wife
Too Far This Time
Here’s to the Moon: Goodbye
 
III. Interlude: A Dozen from the Dream Chair
A Literary Fashion Statement
One of the Roughs
Fame Is Both Relative and Fleeting
The Scientologist’s Nightmare
Last-Ditch Prayer for the Lovers
The Stress Is More Pronounced at Times, but It Is Always There
When Did They Start Etching Reminders into the Side-View Mirrors on Cars?
Mysticism and American Politics
Tonight’s Feature: Revenge of the Inside-Out, Multiple-Personalities Haiku
Why Plans 1 through 8 from Outer Space Came Undone—and Plan 9, Too, for That Matter
A Brief Guide to the Art of Give-and-Take with the World
Posted at Charon’s Bait & Tackle / Ferry Service
 
IV. As Long As We Keep Going
Social Media and Me
At the Convention of State Librarians, I Should Have Been Preaching to the Choir
In Newton’s Time, When Physics Was Physics, They Partied Till Dawn or They Didn’t Party at All, but Today’s Physics Wants to Have It Both Ways
There Will Be a Test on This—or on Something Else Entirely
Sonata for Tornado in EF-5 (Major): May 22, 2011, 5:41–6:13 p.m.
Man Ray Stares into the Future of Jazz
Trying on Hats with Rahsaan Roland Kirk
My One-Performance-Only Dream: Night of the Jazz Giants’ Shoes
Listening to Some Kind of Bird
Between the ’60s and the Saucers and the Willy-Nilly Gods—Let Alone the Vagaries of Ordinary Mortals—It’s Hard to Know Who
Needs Believing Most
 
V. Epilogue
Study Guide
Post-Reading Q&A; or, When Van Morrison Finishes a Concert,
 He’s Not Obliged to Do This Sort of Thing

Editorial Reviews

“Clewell writes poems of every length, from two liners that are precise as lasers, to monsters that crawl over page after page. These are beautiful monsters. . . . These poems pulsate with stories we need to hear.”—Today’s Book of Poetry