Plots We Can’t Keep Up With, by Randy Phillis

Plots We Can’t Keep Up With, by Randy Phillis


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“Plots We Can’t Keep Up With, explores the relationship of man and memory. While the view back may be long, the speaker’s recollections are anything but blurred. These poems dance on the bridge between what was and what is, offering views from barstools and before the kitchen sink from fishing holes and front porches-they connect the pleasures and losses of the past to the joys and uncertainties of now. The body may soften and the teeth rot but these poems remind us that it’s all beautiful, and that we are lucky to travel the sensory world where our stomachs are birds hatched of longing / for plates of slippery sweetness, / cream mingled with the sorcery of apples. To experience these poems is to sit with the friend whose fridge is always full, whose beer is cold, and whose take on life is knowing and lush.”

Carol Christ, author of Divides and Crossings

“Reading these poems is like standing behind a one-way glass, but at the same time you’re participating in what you see on the other side. You’re the boy waiting for his father to come out of the bar; you’re the mother who’s widowed too young; the girlfriends who aren’t coming back, and the father who, had he lived longer, would find your books and music ridiculous. These are the poems and stories of people whose situations we want resolved-plots we can’t keep up with-but that isn’t real life, now is it.”

—Allen Learst, author of Dancing at the Gold Monkey

“In the book’s title poem, Randy Phillis takes us to the extremes of loss and the debris of life that fills garage sales to the joy of planting a first garden. And the rest of the poems in conversation with it fill in the storylines that zigzag between those poles. These are poems you want to sit down and have a beer with, complex portraits of the people we love in all their stark honesty. Phillis situates childhood seen through the smoky red haze of small-town bars and middle age seen through the kitchen window, looking out in surprise at happiness.”

—Jennifer Hancock, author of Nothing Yet

“Phillis persuades and delights in poems that move across memory, time, loss, and the spaces between kitchen and bar, backyard and parking lot. My own Dad and his persistent cigarette haunt these poems. My own Mom and her hard-earned joys escape into lines both painful and beautiful.”

Bill Wright, author of Cosmonauts


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