Living in the Candy Store

By: Leonard Kress

Leonard Kress studied religion at Temple, poetry at Columbia, and Polish at the Jagiel-lonian University in Krakow. He has published poetry and fiction in Missouri ReviewMassachusetts Review, and Iowa Review.  (Cont.)


Previous collections include The Orpheus ComplexBraids & Other SestinasThirteens, and Walk Like Bo Diddley. He has also completed a verse translation of the 19th century, Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz. Kress teaches Humanities at Owens Community College in Ohio.

Praise for Living in the Candy Store:

From the early interweave of working-class life and intellectual and cultural erudition in poems such as “Letter from Bernard Malamud,” “Surplus Jeep,” and “Elmo,” through a glimpse of Polish women tending the graves in Gryzantyny, all the way to the hypnotic and heart-breaking “Ginsburg’s Harmonium,” Leonard Kress provides a feast of compressed, intelligent writing presented with highly polished craft — personal narratives full of colorful observations and surprising insights as well as touches of humor. The past is not even the past; whether it’s the Cold War or the Iliad, Kress makes it provocatively modern and alive —Oriana Ivy, author of April Snow (2011 New Women’s Voices Prize Winner), and From the New World

An army surplus jeep whose ride is as “choppy” as the final movement of Shostakovich’s 6th symphony? A memory of driving deep in Pennsylvania coal country to woo a girl whose miner father groaned “black piss” at the urinal, while the polka-dancing daughter would “sweat herself slippery, too slick to hold on to, changing her outfit, her partner with each set”? Getting a letter from Bernard Malamud, or reading Isaac Babel’s The Red Calvary alongside a co-worker perpetually hung-over from Mad Dog 20/20? Or, how about a poem titled “Notes for a Poem: The Liquidation of History,” one of the best long-poems I have ever encountered, tracing a forced march through the kaleidoscopic landscape of 20th century Poland, equal parts intelligentsia, alcohol, and ethnic complexity?—Daniel Bourne, author of Where No One Spoke the Language and The Household Gods, editor of Artful Dodge


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