"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.