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Future Perfect

poems by Charles Martin

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The latest dazzling collection of poems from Charles Martin, a modern poet working within the possibilities of traditional measures.

To be modern is to live not in a single era, but in a churn of new technologies, deep history, myth, literary traditions, and contemporary cultural memes. In Future Perfect, Charles Martin’s darkly comic new collection, the poet explores our time and the times that come before and after, which we inhabit and cultivate in memory and imagination. Through poems that play with form and challenge expectation, Martin examines the continuities that persist from time…

The latest dazzling collection of poems from Charles Martin, a modern poet working within the possibilities of traditional measures.

To be modern is to live not in a single era, but in a churn of new technologies, deep history, myth, literary traditions, and contemporary cultural memes. In Future Perfect, Charles Martin’s darkly comic new collection, the poet explores our time and the times that come before and after, which we inhabit and cultivate in memory and imagination. Through poems that play with form and challenge expectation, Martin examines the continuities that persist from time immemorial to the future perfect.

Sensitive to the traces left behind by the lives of his characters, Martin follows their tracks, reflections, echoes, and shadows. In "From Certain Footprints Found at Laetoli," an ancient impression preserved in volcanic ash conjures up a family scene three million years past. In "The Last Resort of Mr. Kees" and "Mr. Kees Goes to a Party," Martin adopts the persona of the vanished poet Weldon Kees to reimagine his disappearance. "Letter from Komarovo, 1962" retells the tense real-life meeting between Anna Akhmatova and Robert Frost a year before their nations almost destroyed one another. And in the titular sonnet sequence that ends the book, Martin conjures a childhood in the Bronx under the shadow of the mushroom cloud of nuclear war as the perfected future supplanting the present.

Introducing Buck Rogers to Randall Jarrell and combining new translations or reinterpretations of works by Ovid, G. G. Belli, Octavio Paz, and Euripides, Future Perfect further establishes Charles Martin as a master of invention.

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Future Perfect

poems by Charles Martin

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Reviews

Reviews

The ambitious span of Future Perfect arcs from prehistory to the atomic age, with stops in Corinth, Rome, Parkchester, and elsewhere. In poem after poem eloquently parsing our species' rich and fearful heritage, Charles Martin's urbanity both brightens and heightens the gloom of his searchingly ironic vision. Future Perfect is a wise and multilayered book to savor, ponder, and return to.

Charles Martin’s poetry is the best of company, witty and wise and engaging, all the while reminding us that we are only human and have been for millennia. The poems of Future Perfect will, I believe, see us through whatever the future holds.

Charles Martin is one of America’s best poets and translators, comparable to Auden in his humanity, intellectual vitality, and formal range. Future Perfect launches from the lives of others and from the poet’s own autobiography. It soars and brings us trenchantly down to earth. A performance of perfection.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
5.5
x
8.5
Pages
88
ISBN
9781421425351
Table of Contents

Discontents
I. Self as Others
When We Had It All
Octaves of Another Eden
From Certain Footprints Found at Laetoli
Variations on a Theme by Martial
The Last Resort of Mr. Kees
Narcissism for Beginners
Mr. Kees

Discontents
I. Self as Others
When We Had It All
Octaves of Another Eden
From Certain Footprints Found at Laetoli
Variations on a Theme by Martial
The Last Resort of Mr. Kees
Narcissism for Beginners
Mr. Kees Goes to a Party
Letter from Komarovo
‘Noi Antri’
The Woman Taken in Adultery
The Locked Room Mystery of Mr. Kees
A Happy Ending for Iphis and Ianthe
Mr. Kees Comes to a Conclusion
Blue Eyes
The Afterlife of Mr. Kees
II. From The Medea Of Eurpides
III. Notes From The Future Perfect
Notes From the Future Perfect
Farewell, Voyager I
Notes to the Poems
Acknowledgements
About the author

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Charles Martin

Charles Martin is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Signs & Wonders. His verse translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses received the 2004 Harold Morton Landon Award from the Academy of American Poets.