American Compass

Hardcover | October 15, 2004

byBill Meissner

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"Bill Meissner is unapologetically in love with America’s favorite pastime—dreaming. He writes with surprising generosity about the American psyche broken and made wise by all the old Chevies, baseball games, and heroes who perish young, by all the things that feed and fail and yet endure. Most of all, he understands the gestures of love, of enduring the small wounds of living. These fine poems deserve to be read and reread." —Jonis Agee, author of Acts of Love on Indigo Road
 
American Compass negotiates a topography few poets can manage, which is to say that only occasionally does a writer chart with such conviction and accuracy the complex region of the human heart. I so admire the unadorned eloquence of these poems, and how the restraint of each manifests a kind of grandeur I find rare and utterly convincing. Bill Meissner is an American original, and this is his finest collection yet.” —Jack Driscoll, author of Lucky Man, Lucky Woman
 
“The legends of Bill Meissner’s boyhood and youth, those well-known American icons and everyday folk cast larger-than-life, lend a long-last note to the national chorus as this poet hears it. Wry and good-natured, these poems take us aside to talk to us the way an old family friend would, telling us what it all meant, what it all might mean.” —Heid Erdrich, author of Fishing for Myth
 
American Compass, Bill Meissner’s fourth book of poetry, is a collection that steers the reader on a varied, memorable journey down the American highway. Like the four points of a compass, each of the book's four sections has a distinct direction. "First Corners" features poems about childhood and the realizations of early adulthood. "Breaking Dreams" illuminates the myths and realities of popular American icons, with portraits of James Dean, Thomas Edison, Elvis Presley, and Joe DiMaggio. The baseball poems in "Taking the Curve" become subtle metaphors for the game of life. In the "Soul Highway" poems, the author concludes the book with a series of poignant personal experiences that will leave the reader thinking more deeply about his or her life.

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From the Publisher

"Bill Meissner is unapologetically in love with America’s favorite pastime—dreaming. He writes with surprising generosity about the American psyche broken and made wise by all the old Chevies, baseball games, and heroes who perish young, by all the things that feed and fail and yet endure. Most of all, he understands the gestures of lo...

BILL MEISSNER is the author of three books of poetry and a collection of short stories. His writing has appeared in more than 150 journals, magazines, and anthologies. His numerous awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, five PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Awards, two Loft-McKnight Awards, and a Minnes...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:88 pages, 9 × 5.5 × 0.5 inPublished:October 15, 2004Publisher:University Of Notre Dame PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0268034818

ISBN - 13:9780268034818

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"As a continuous journey, American Compass points readers in the right directions and does a good job leading them through the lives of a few classic American characters. …an overall uplifting and level-headed collection of American poems. This book belongs in the hands of anyone interested in the heart of this country, or anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about the lives of those who live there." —The Corresponder